The Warren's aptly named Theatre Box (it’s a converted shipping container) hosted this year’s final Fringe performance of Efemera. A two-woman show, starring writer Gael Le Cornec and Rosie MacPherson and an audience of around 25, made for an intimate performance, which suited the sensitive subject matter.
For the intersectional feminists at the Fringe, this is a must-see for its emotional and creative take on research into violence against minority ethnic women.
The piece was based on important research carried out by Kings College London, and the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS) about violence against Brazilian Women in London. For the intersectional feminists at the Fringe, this is a must-see for its emotional and creative take on the findings. MacPherson and Le Cornec gave passionate performances, and expressed the frustration so many silenced women feel about the very real problem of sexual assault and violence against women.
Advertised as a piece of "verbatim theatre with a twist" by flyers and posters outside The Warren, by the end of the show I was a little confused by what the twist was. The pair opened the show with an informal chat, saying their piece was still a work in progress. To prove this point, they frequently acted as coming out of character to quarrel over how the show would be best performed. At times this was a little forced, but when MacPherson ran out of the theatre after a particularly tense scene featuring some tightly choreographed physical theatre, I did find myself wondering if she was really in trouble. The audience was certainly left with some time to digest the horrors of domestic violence which had just been described.
The interview process epitomised how difficult it can be for victims to come forward, and as a result how underreported this serious issue is, and how the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. I was saddened and frustrated by the emotional manipulation that goes on in these violent dynamics, which was well captured by Le Cornec’s portrayal of Anna.
The final sequence saw Le Cornec sitting with her back to the audience, and her face projected onto the paper with interview notes scrawled across them, stuck to the wall. Her face was larger than life, and the projection made uncanny eye contact with every member of the audience while she recounted the story of her own abuse.
The girls’ passion was admirable, and their piece was well researched. This is information than desperately needs to be brought to the mainstream, and theatre has proved itself to be one such method considering the failings of the media and justice system.
Some more polishing is in order, but the success of the projection was a sign of their potential if they get their Art Council funding next year. Good luck to them both!