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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A couple of plays about women getting fed up with what other people want them to be...

You wouldn't think there would be much in common between SLUT at Northern Light Theatre and Blue Stockings at Walterdale Theatre, but at their core they really deal with the same thing - people telling women what they can and can't do and those women pushing back. 

SLUT tells the tale of Matilda whose sexual activity has gotten her into some undeserved hot water due to the judgement of her neighbours. Matilda, played by the facile Michelle Todd, is in a situation she's unprepared for. The situation itself is laugh-producing and Todd's retelling of the circumstances that have led up to it is wonderful. In addition to Matilda, she deftly conjures a handful of other characters who help tell the story. Layered under it all is a conversation we likely never have (but should) about differing expectations for women and men in sexual relationships, or rather about presumptions (incorrect ones) about those differing expectations. It's not gratuitous - it's funny, smart and human. I really liked Matilda and her honesty about where sex fits into her life, and I like the softness of her in contrast to her bold outfit. The lights (designed by Beth Dart) are like another character in the play, commenting and maybe even judging a little - It lights could wink or roll their eyes, this is what it would look like. 

SLUT runs to April 14th at the Studio Theatre at Fringe Theatre Adventures. Click here for tickets.

Blue Stockings at Walterdale (full disclosure: I worked on the show as Mentor Director) is about women seeking educational equality in England at the turn of the century. It too is layered with assumptions about what women want and need and articulates the complexity of what the reality is. It also has humorous moments, primarily when we are confronted with the rhetoric of the age in contrast to our modern day beliefs (the theory of the wandering uterus always makes me laugh - where is it now? in my throat? In my armpit?!). Sadly, there are still people in the world (even in our own country) who still adhere to some of this outdated thinking. It's well worth checking this show out to see how far we've come, and to reflect on how far might still need to go. 

Blue Stockings runs to April 14th at the Walterdale Theatre. Click here for tickets.

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