Blurred Lines at the ShedCultureTheatre
This new play’s title leaves very little to the imagination. Is it just coincidence, or a direct reference to Robin Thicke’s infamous song? After all the uproar it caused last year upon its release, Blurred Lines surely has its share in the development of the play of the same name, created by Nick Payne and Carrie Cracknell.
The truth is, though, that Thicke’s track – with its controversial lyrics and even more explicit (however censored) music video – is only the latest (most likely not the last) in an infinite series of similar images of women objectification channelled by popular culture. Sexism, as exposed by The Equality Illusion – the revelation book by Kat Banyard, which was the actual inspiration for the play Blurred Lines – is everywhere. It is so because the battle for gender equality hasn’t been achieved yet; we still live in a world where women are constantly degraded, often violated, sometimes deprived of their lives just for being such.
Humiliation, inadequacy and shame go hand-in-hand with rape and crimes of violence of many other kinds. This is the message that this play wants to convey. Eight women of different ages share the stage in a choral performance that engages, but fails to deliver, real gut-wrenching intensity. Short scenes tied by numbers, as stories interlace and voices overlap, see these women weep like newborns then pant, scream and cry like conscious adults trying to rebel against our chauvinistic and misogynous society.
These women sing and dance, but they do this in a mocking way. They use sarcasm, they make the audience laugh more than they should to leave people speechless. The theme is not an easy one – there are some poignant moments but we are perhaps so used to crudity that we are somehow left wanting. Things that should disgust us, make us ponder, take action and change a hideous situation once and for all leave us indifferent every day. If they do shake us, they only do so for a while. They make headlines but the next day they are already forgotten.
Too much is never enough and we want more, we need more at least from a theatrical (supposedly cathartic) production. Its lack of audacity is nonetheless compensated by an overall pleasant performance by the actresses, able to morph themselves around different characters.
Photo: Simon Kane
Blurred Lines is on at the Shed until 22nd February 2014, for further information or to book visit here.