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Intersectional Feminism > Feminist Theatre and Live Experiences

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message 1: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
This weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing the play Gloria: A Life in NYC, based on the life of Gloria Steinem, and drawing heavily from My Life on the Road (this was the closing weekend, otherwise I'd recommend it). Naturally, I was thinking a lot about OSS and wondering about live experiences such as theatre performances.

I really enjoy theatre and find the experience of seeing a live performance very valuable. I often feel a special kind of camaraderie with others when I am sitting in an audience, a communal feeling of connectivity and mutual experience.

I also recognize that in many cases, tickets can be prohibitively expensive, meaning that audiences are often decidedly homogenous. As a result, even when tickets are affordable, certain spaces might seem unwelcoming to some demographics of people.

In any case, I thought this might be an interesting discussion. What have been some of your favorite experiences of live performance? What makes a performance "feminist"? As feminists, can we think of ways to make performances more accessible/welcoming?

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 01, 2019 02:24PM) (new)

Ha... Theater, I wish I could add relevant input regarding feminist plays but even though I enjoy so much theater I rarely see plays because of many reasons. The price being one reason and the other important issue I have is: in France theaters are old and there is no much space for legs when you're tall.🙋🏻‍♂️

I totally agree with you about the communal feeling and how it's transfer. I would say it's more human and we are able to experience more emotions and to directly share them with people.

The best performance I have seen were:
- L'intrus with Genevieve Casile and Claude Rich (and others)
- Le diable rouge with Claude Rich and Nicolas Vaude (and others)
- Hollywood with Samuel le Bihan, Thierry Frémont and Daniel Russo. Oh god, when Le Bihan believes he is a gorilla... It was hilarious.
I cannot talk about feminist live performances, sadly because I haven't seen one.

Personnaly, I believe it's difficult to make a play accessible (price) because it's an everyday job for months and sometimes years with two or more performances per day. And obviously the audience one may potentially target is less important compare to movies.

More welcome, I don't know. The issue seem to be related to the target but I'll be curious to read what people think about it.

Personnaly, I have always preferred comedians (from theaters) than actors (cinema) probably because I have practiced theater a little bit. I don't know they are more expressive (usually) and only have one shot during a show so whenever they do a mistake they must fix it without anyone noticing and I that's an outstanding ability. obviously I cannot say much because I don't know cinema.

That's a great topic Katelyn thank you! 😊 I'm so curious to read what people will share ☺️

message 3: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 31 comments When I was in high school (a million years ago) we read Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House." I remember this because one of the things we discussed was the idea that this is a "feminist" play. It seemed so strange to me. It's considered feminist because when it premiered, a woman leaving her husband because she was unhappy (as opposed to abused, or in love with someone else, etc.) was an alien concept. The woman does do bad things, and when her husband finds out and eventually forgives her, the play seems to be following the normal track - Opening, Problem, Solution, Closing. But in a twist, after her husband forgives her, the woman leaves anyway. This shocked people at the time. But I remember thinking the play was dull (I was 16...). I mean, of course she left. Looking back, what strikes me most isn't the feminism of the play. It's how far society has come that the idea of a woman wanting more, or leaving, seemed so normal to me that the play bored me. What a difference a hundred years makes.

message 4: by L (new)

L (lophora) | 3 comments I think the structure of theatres is very different from country to country. In Germany there are big houses and the off scene. In the big houses there are only few radical and interesting concepts in aesthetic and structural terms. (However, there is one theatre that has introduced a 100% female quota, in response to the male dominated theatre landscape). In the off scene there are innumerable interesting works, which however have a lower visibility. I think structural and aesthetic questions are combined in the question of feminist theatre.

A good example of feminist theatre work are theatre collectives like She She Pop (which is mainly composed of women) and Gob Squad. But I think it's just as important to negotiate gender and sex in public (and social attributions) as it is to create visions of theater for which concepts like man and woman no longer represent categories at all.

message 5: by RaineAisling (new)

RaineAisling | 4 comments I'm totally agree with Florian about theatre in France. It's really expensive and that is why I prefer go to London for this kind of experiences. Now, as soon as I pass through London, I book tickets for a play because the prices are really affordable.

About feminism and theater, I think that seeing plays like Antigone or Electre is very interesting. I remember studying both when I was a teenager and these two characters still fascinate me so much. I also hope to be able to go to a performance of Wicked or Tina, The Tina Turner Musical.

To me, just the fact that a performance will replace an originally male character by a woman makes it more feminist. For someone who doesn't know the original version, there will be no difference.
I also think that if comedians have to touch each other - in the intimate sense - it is important to see the notion of consent between them.

The best pieces I've seen are:
- A Christmas Carol by Jack Thorne : Jack Thorne's staging was splendid and he deliberately chose three women to interpret the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Plus, the stage was in the center of the theater, which allowed everyone to see well.
I also remember having a real moment of sharing with people next to us, which I like very much.

- Betrayal by Jamie Lloyd : I didn't know anything about Harold Pinter's theater and fell instantly in love with it. The minimalist decorations allowed me to focus on the comedians' acting and the shadows of the bodies that stand out on a wall. It's a really beautiful play around relationships and betrayals.

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