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Feminist Theatre

(27 Posts)
neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 10:22:11

I wanted to ask a couple of questions. Firstly I wondered if anyone had seen any feminist theatre and if so what was it like.

Secondly I am going to be working on a piece of work over the next year and I just wanted to run a couple of ideas by you all to see what sort of reaction they get.

I've been reading all the threads on here and thinking about the way our bodies are a kind of battle ground. I hope that makes sense, I am thinking that there is this sort of war on women which ranges from painful beauty practices to sexual violence. I am then thinking about ways of fighting back - the resisting femininity thread comes to mind and I am wondering about ways sexual abuse/rape survivors can reclaim their bodies if that makes sense.

Anyway I know this is all a bit vaugue but I am only at the start of thinking of this. I am wondering about creating some kind of community project where women can send in their ways of resisiting through images or text or videos or anything they like really that I could then use as research or as part of a performance. Do you think that would be something people would be interested in or do you think it sounds daft?

All thoughts appreciated!

YouMustBeYolking Fri 03-Jun-11 10:28:00

Does the Vagina Monologues count?

I think the idea is great. I recently watched Medea with my DH and was saddened by the negative female portrayal (I KNOW that is the point of Medea) as the events would not have happened to a male protagonist.

dittany Fri 03-Jun-11 10:33:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 10:43:18

I think it was you Dittany who quoted someone, not sure who, saying 'resist, do not comply' and that has really stuck in my head. I was also reading up on Disney Princesses as I really dislike them but couldn't articulate why and I came across these pictures of Disney Peincesses after the end of the story, snow White stuck with loads of babies while her prince sits around for example.

I am not so hot on theory although I am learning a lot here so that's partly why I wanted it to be lots of voices, not just mine.

I hear what you are saying about rapists Dittany, I suppose I was thinking personally that it was hard for me to think of my body as my own if that makes sense and could I do something to change that for myself.

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 10:44:38

Did anyone see Trilogy? I thought it was amazing.

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 10:51:01

Also I am thinking about being a mother, I just had a baby and obviously there are big changes in my body. I felt really proud of them after I had her but everything around me is telling me to feel shame because I have stretch marks and a round belly. How many women even have a flat tummy naturally anyway? I never did. Sorry am jumping all over the place but as I said just at the start of thinking about this!

I like the vagina monoluges a lot, I like that it was based on interviews with women so yes that sort of thing but I would love to have music and visuals too. I mentioned Trilogy before and this piece, even though it contained some really difficult images and facts was also really joyous, I felt really positive and inspired after I saw it.

dittany Fri 03-Jun-11 10:55:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 11:03:42

I should really read some Andrea Dwoekin although I am bit scared I won't understand it.

I hadn't thought about that in relation to the Vagina Monolouges. That really isn't good at all, how many times must women have contributed to a piece of art and not been credited. Not good.

The piece is just going to be a small studio thing, not a play but that's a really good point about trying to find my own voice in all this. That is probably a confidence thing but perhaps this is the project where I can do something to address that.

dittany Fri 03-Jun-11 11:13:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 21:47:19

Well I understand that anyway, it's really clear and brilliant. I will get my hands on a book, which one would you say is the best one to start with? Intercourse is the first one that comes up on Amazon.

dittany Fri 03-Jun-11 22:09:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thebestisyettocome Fri 03-Jun-11 22:17:04

I think it's an interesting idea OP.
The BBC run a scheme for writers who will be trained to write for their continuing drama series (Eastenders, Holby etc) and during their most recent recruitment drive, complained that the scripts they were receiving as applications didn't contain decent female characters. I find that utterly depressing.
Have you any experience of theatre writing already? I would say go for it but when you do, remember not to lose sight of your audience. The best way to get your message across is to wrap it up in a brillant story.

Adair Fri 03-Jun-11 22:22:45

Re feminist theatre, I agree theatre where women have a voice. i saw a funny and shocking Ursula Martinez piece that shouldnt have worked but did (search hanky and ursula martinez).

Also a very interesting performance about female genital mutilation agree with review here

One that sticks in my mind was a performance called the Tragic History of Julia Pastrana about the 'ugliest woman in the world'. They staged the performanc in pitch black which really, really worked.

At uni, I wrote a play where the idea was that the four characters could be performed by men or women and was interested in the differing reactions/perceptions. One of the characters is 'date-raped' and the play looks at reactions and feelings around this. I don't think the play really worked as a whole but I still like the idea of flipping characters to see if the audience views things another way...

Adair Fri 03-Jun-11 22:30:12

Regarding your performance - which sounds interesting, Shazia Mirza did a great documentary on body hair which you might find inspiring...

I agree with dittany that too many uncredited voices is meaningless. But like to hear about different named women's stories.

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 22:33:54

I'm not a writer no, it will be a devised piece of physical theatre for a post grad I am doing. It's just a small studio piece really.

Thank you for all the links, Dd has just fallen asleep so I am off to bed while I can and will look through them in the morning.

Adair Fri 03-Jun-11 22:36:14

My fave! Ohhh i miss making theatre...

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 22:38:48

Ohhh what is your background Adair? Why not get back to it?!

I hear what you are saying about uncredited voices, I still like the idea of community involvement in some way, need to think it through more.

Adair Fri 03-Jun-11 22:45:14

Am drama teacher - work with challenging students. Plan to do something when dc3 is a bit bigger (he is 4mths)... possibly a youth theatre... Though have also considered <gasp> am dram.

Like community involvement - just not for the sake of it.

Anyway, go to bed! Me too...

neepsntatties Fri 03-Jun-11 22:54:05

How weird! My Dd is also 4 months, I am a drama teacher and just about to start a youth theatre!

Adair Sat 04-Jun-11 07:06:31

That is weird! Where are you? Am in Walthamstow, East London.

What MA are you doing?

neepsntatties Sat 04-Jun-11 07:21:29

I am in Scotland now. I used to live in London, really miss it! The course is in physical theatre, just a post grad certificate this year although it is attached to an MA which I would love to do if I can. It's in London though so it depends how the days work out in relation to my job. I'm excited about it, it's hard to stay in touch with performing when you teach.

Adair Sat 04-Jun-11 09:34:21

Ah, thought so from your name!

Course sounds good. Am hoping to do an MA in inclusive education at some point... Am not really a performer, more a director but yes, do miss the buzz (especially as I am not even teaching at the moment).

neepsntatties Sat 04-Jun-11 11:22:48

You will be in luck being in London, there are loads of fantastic ones down there. Unicorn Theatre have just started one about theatre for young people which sounds good. Shame you are not up here, I would drag you into my plans for my youth theatre!

InmaculadaConcepcion Wed 08-Jun-11 07:48:33

Hi neeps!
Sounds interesting, very interesting.
I did Feminist Theatre at Uni.
Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill is a good play which examines the witch trials and female sexuality (I mentioned it on the Burning Times thread) - it might be worth a look.
I remember taking ideas from Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber for a devised piece of feminist theatre - it worked out very well (we all got high 2:1s, so it must have gone down OK!)
Maybe play around with some satire - like the "Disney Princess speaks" series on Youtube...

A few random thoughts, anyway. Good luck!

MooncupGoddess Tue 14-Jun-11 14:03:52

Ruined by Lynn Nottage is brilliant - it's about sexual violence in Congo and specifically about rape as a military tactic. It is also (and I know this will sound unlikely) really watchable with lots of clever and funny moments. Was on at the Almeida last year.

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