Hysterical

Hysterical questions feminism and gender equality, pointing out the misunderstanding of those terms. Combining physical theatre, dialogue and monologues, light effects and a drums solo on stage, the young performers try to pass on their message in a unique way. However, it gets a bit too hysterical. The quick dialogue and choreography accompanied by audio excerpts make it a little bit hard to follow. The constant onstage presence of the whole group, which consists of 12 young people, is distracting and causes the relevant and clever dialogue to feel suffocated by their being there. On the contrary, some of the more quiet and focused moments of the monologues are almost excellent, and definitely the strongest part of the play.

The group presents a mixture of stories, all related to women’s rights and position in the contemporary world, with some references to the past. Sexual assaults, the gender pay gap, the focus on celebrities’ look, “bossy” women, privileged white men – all of these are under the microscope. The main message is the lack of understanding of feminism and what gender equality means. “I believe there is a gender inequality issue, but I won’t call myself a feminist”, says one of the performers, emphasising the wrong (but often believed) assumption that feminism is not about gender equality, but about women’s superiority.

The dialogue about women’s role in church and Jesus’ feminist beliefs with references to the bible and other religious texts is particularly thought provoking and revealing. However, the highlight of the play is the fantastic performance of the young woman who says “no” to having sex with a man, but he keeps trying, thinking that she plays a “sexy” game, misinterpreting and ignoring her reaction. Here, a strong monologue is beautifully matched with a detailed choreography. Another good moment of the show is the onstage group movement and the monologue of one of the male performers, where he talks about the good that patriarchy has done to the world and how women must be and behave in certain ways, so they are liked by men. The well performed choreography with the sarcastic funny reactions disproves the monologue and clearly addresses the gender inequality issue.

Overall, the play has a lot to say in the very short time of fifty minutes, which makes it seem a bit scattered and difficult to follow. The performances are imbalanced, with some of them being excellent and some being more average. There is good material in the play, with good references, clever lines, a lot of good points and some very well-choreographed parts. The live drum solo is a good addition and should actually be a bigger part of the play. However, there is also a lot of unnecessary hubbub on stage which leads to a less professional, untidy result – saved mainly by some of the monologues.

 

Hysterical

C Venues – C – +2 (Venue 34)

Run Ended

Buy tickets here

 

Image: Lund

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