Saturday, 18 February 2017

Inconnu’s Age of Arousal a funny and fascinating feminist romp

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Is not a perform about proto-feminists in Victorian Britain could be so amazing and funny?

Theatre Inconnu has just started out a successful resurgence of The Age of Excitement by Betty Griffiths. Very generally depending on Henry Gissing’s 19th-century novel The Odd Females (in her presentation Griffiths genders factors up considerably) the perform is about a couple of ladies who run a clerical school for ladies. The college provides training on the new-fangled typewriter, which the learners strategy with the wariness of cave-women dealing with the newest iPhone.

In The Age of Excitement, the delayed Griffiths (you may keep in mind her from the 1980 hit perform Maggie and Pierre) investigates how Victorian sex-related mores pressured women into positions both artificial and ridiculous. The most creatively stunning example is the situation of Va. Amusingly performed by Joy Ruby Andersen as a bleary dipsomaniac, Va is able to punch her dependance on gin only by shifting to Germany and — getting a cue from new buddies created there — dressed in men’s outfits. This gives her a feeling of identification and energy decreases her need for the container, even though she requires a actual defeating for such an non-traditional style option.

The grotesqueries don’t quit there. Monica (played by Ellen Law with brains and freshness) is a younger ategory whose industrial-strength randiness brings to a alarmist pitfall. Rhoda (portrayed considerately by Deirdre Tipping) changes between lesbianism and heterosexuality — these vacillations are determined by her sex-related needs and her dedication to be an identical in a punitively patriarchal community.

Plays about feminism can be didactic, with dramatists enabling their passion for sex-related state policies to supersede fundamentals such as depiction and story. Such is the situation, for example, with Debbie Daniels’ pedagogic Gut Ladies, now enjoying the University of Victoria. By comparison, Griffiths’ figures are completely three-dimensional — each one is unique and extremely personal.

The playwright draws out two not-so-secret weaponry that raise this crazy and savvy perform into the world of the amazing. One is the system of having figures complete asides that expose their inner ideas. The other is the idea that most of the figures have sex on the mind. This brings to very crazy circumstances. In one experience, Rhoda and her would-be fan, the amusingly-monikered Everard (played as a rakish cad by Corin Wrigley) both give speech to ideas about how actually turned on they are.

This is provided partially for fun — the lustfulness of the figures differences hilariously with the restrictions of courteous community. Simultaneously, Griffiths provides libido as a organic factor. She doesn’t concept her figures for their yearnings, rather, she makes fun of community for pushing them to reduce them. Everyone in her perform is provided concern and complexness. Even ladies’ man Everard is coloured as someone with authentic concern for the situation of ladies, despite the reality he’s always fishing to get them into bed.

As always, Cinema Inconnu’s excellent restriction is the smallness of occurs, which actually causes the stars into a stand-and-deliver position. That said, Wendy Merk has instructed this perform with verve and intellect. On Saturday, the stability between humor and dilemma was just right. And the thousands of asides — a officially challenging factor — were sailed clearly and without staginess.

The strong collection throw contains Fergie Patterson and Gloria Snider. This 2 1/2-hour (with intermission) perform is a little gem — interesting, fulfilling and value looking for.

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