By definition, revolt means to “take violent action against an established government or ruler”, so the fact it is in the title of the show holds great weight in the tellings of this story. This original work by Alice Birch explores the notion of what being a woman means in the 21st century, and how our language is used as a form of abuse against women. It is an insightful look at how funny some very normal topics can be, but also extremely graphic when it comes to the hard hitting social commentary.
The play began as a series of little anecdotes showing the power imbalance between men and women. I thought they cleverly depicted everyday circumstances in an engaging way where the act of sex is merely spoken about rather than doing, and a marriage proposal is paralleled to a suicide bomb attack. Strange, but it worked. The way in which each character’s language was flipped and questioned was downright brilliant, and will surely get you to think about the words you use in certain situations.
This play is a think piece. There have been many discussions of late about the ideologies of feminism and men’s rights, even after this show. I think that is the point of this piece though because at the half-way mark shit literally hits the fan. While it’s all fun and games at the start it gets dark; dark in subject matter, dark in mood, dark in content – just dark. It was erratic and frantic with all five actors running about that stage, assuming different roles and explicitly provoking political commentary. Director Janice Muller created a work of theatrical aggression. By no means was any of it offensive, but it was very intense.
Actors Elizabeth Esguerra, Ming-Zhu Hii, Belinda McClory, Sophie Ross and Gareth Reeves bared all and showed a commitment to each character and each word. There has never been a time where language and its context have ever been so prevalent. You may feel frustrated and confused at the end of it all, but let it sink in for a couple of days, have some conversations with your friends and you’ll start to understand the point of this play was simply to spark or continue that conversation.
Revolt. She said. Revolt again. is playing at the Merlyn Theatre in Melbourne until July 9th. For more info and tickets, head here.
The reviewer attended the show on June 21st.