Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again is a feminist play and political satire by Alice Birch which analyses the role of women in society, and the ways in which we can revolutionise such roles. This production struck me as being shockingly relevant to today’s society, particularly with the current political situation in the US, and Trump alienating women all over the world.
Each scene of the play tells a different story and is based upon a various title, such as ‘Revolutionise the World (Do Not Marry)’ and ‘Revolutionise the Body’. The opening of the play is playful and humorous, yet also striking. It begins with the unnamed male character, played by Harry Pavlou, attempting to seduce his female partner, played by Chloe Richardson.
She makes various attempts to correct him, insisting that he will “make love with” her rather than “to” her, highlighting the language differences between men and women with regards to sex. As the play progresses, its instructions to women become more and more extreme, commanding them never to marry or even associate themselves with men, showing the play’s darkly ironic nature.
“The play explored the struggles of women at home”
The quality of the acting was astounding, with all four actors, Daniella Finch, Lois Baglin, Chloe Richardson and Harry Pavlou, doing a superb job. There were seamless transitions between different roles as the play explored the struggles of women at home, in the workplace, and in both romantic and familial relationships.
The use of audience interaction added a whole new dimension to the play. With the audience seated in close proximity surrounding the stage and regular direct address throughout, the audience were made to feel personally involved in the events.
“The lighting was kept fairly simple throughout”
Alongside this, the staging was highly effective. The minimalist approach really helped to enhance the overall understanding of the performance. The use of simplistic costumes with each character dressed in all black and barefoot, very few props, and a bare, entirely white stage, allowed the audience to focus entirely on the message of the play without any distractions.
The lighting was kept fairly simple throughout, but brief changes in lighting helped to guide the audience through alternating scenes. The bright, white light throughout the performance acted as a stark spotlight on society.
“The play is mainly focused on language”
The play was heavily dialogue-orientated, which mirrors the fact that the play is mainly focused on language itself: how women use language, how we use language to describe women, and how we can change such restrictions. The script itself was very interesting, Birch refrains from assigning specific lines to particular characters, only using dashes to show a new speaker.
Furthermore, this gave the director, Felicity Chilver, and producer, Joanne Blunt, complete freedom to choose which characters deliver which lines. This makes every production of the play unique and a one-off, allowing the director to shape and mould the script in their own way, which is a refreshing technique.
“I found the few scenes towards the end of the play slightly confusing”
I have few criticisms of the performance as a whole, but personally I found the few scenes towards the end of the play slightly confusing and hard to follow with the short snippets of action and voices constantly talking over one other. However, I understand that this section of the play is supposed to be overwhelming, disorientating and perhaps uncomfortable for the audience due to the nature of the topics addressed, such as pornography, thigh gaps and police harassment.
“An experience that I would gladly repeat”
This play is entirely different to anything that I have ever watched before, but an experience that I would gladly repeat. The feminist theme has been tackled brilliantly, with a sinister and sharp ending to reflect the revolutionary nature of the play. The NNT have done a fantastic job at portraying the message of the play strongly and clearly, highlighting the significance of the treatment of women in society. Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again is a play that makes the audience stop and think, questioning how a modern world can still be riddled with gender inequality.
8/10 – Excellent, highly enjoyable
Image courtesy of the Nottingham New Theatre
‘Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again’ is running at the Nottingham New Theatre until Saturday 4th March. For more information and where to find tickets see here