thu 20/09/2018

Female Parts: Shorts, Hoxton Hall review - women speak out | reviews, news & interviews

Female Parts: Shorts, Hoxton Hall review - women speak out

Female Parts: Shorts, Hoxton Hall review - women speak out

Adulteress, mother and immigrant tell their stories in three monologues

Gehane Strehler as Zehra in 'A Woman Alone'© Sharron Wallace

Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day come three monologues written, directed and produced by women showing at Hoxton Hall. It’s kind of a treat, and kind of not.

The current laser focus on gender risks the unwanted side-effect of alienating rather than including, and when an issue becomes so hot it’s hip, surface buzz easily takes over at the expense of meaningful action. Important voices registering dissent, noting difference, flagging up granularity and raising objections are not heard. But the balance between revolution and evolution is perennial and intractable, and the thing about these monologues is that – sadly – the issues are all still live.

Each monologue is told by a women, trapped by who she is or who she has become, or what she has ended up being.Rebecca Sire as A Mother © Sharron WallaceGehane Strehler (main pictureplays a hectic Turkish housewife, locked into her home by her husband as punishment for her infidelity. When the script allows her breath, her performance sings. Rebecca Sire (pictured above) plays a mother from the British middle-class intelligentsia torn apart by public opprobrium and the moral guilt over her son’s conversion to violence as a means of changing society. Her helpless anger and disgust swell throughout a monologue skilfully translated and transposed to a contemporary UK context. Clare Perkins as Ama (pictured below) invites us into her wide-eyed world, speaking in rhyming couplets to her earth-bound daughter while, as the first female Jamaican astronaut on a UK mission, she floats above the earth and ties her sense and tongue in knots.

Clare Perkins as Ama in "The Immigrant" © Sharron WallaceThe three women speak about responsibility, love, and conflicting duties. They tell of the tug of expectations between who they should be and who they are expected to be, and eloquently expose the extent to which each gives up parts of herself so that others can thrive. Each is on a quest for appreciation, acceptance, release. But if true equality can be measured by when incompetent women can be promoted with the same alacrity as equally incompetent men, a monologue from a truly callous woman would be the welcome dramatic equivalent.

Libby Watson’s design is sensitive to the finest detail (note the adapter plug on Zehra’s iron); Sherry Coenen’s lighting is architecturally daring (see especially the light from the window in A Woman Alone) and the staging of The Immigrant is a little delight. The performances are assured. It’s the writing that is so often the weak link: the context in which A Woman Alone takes place overwhelms what is said, The Immigrant could be tightened, and certain parts of A Mother cut altogether.

That said, while it’s a long evening it’s one that commands attention. These are issues that have not yet been exhausted.

@_kwaters_

These three women tell of the tug of expectations between who they should be and who they are expected to be, and eloquently expose the extent to which each gives up parts of herself so that others can thrive

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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