Lines

With damning questions on moral and personal boundaries, Lines is a stunning and complex portrayal of sexual assault. Rora is violently raped after a night out with friends and two weeks pass before she can bear to discuss the crime with her family. As she unpicks events with a therapist, it becomes clear that blame for the assault lies beyond the man who raped her; others could have prevented it from happening. Directed and written by Arabella Warren, this drama asks difficult questions and forces the audience to recognise the reality of life after rape.

A shocking and challenging drama

In her role as Rora, Foxey Hardman is by far the standout performer of this production. Warren’s writing features a number of difficult conversations as Rora must relive the assault to her family and therapist. However, Hardman proves she is more than capable of such sensitivity in her performance. Her monologues are stunning as Rora tries to piece together a timeline from fragments of blurred memories. Though the other actors are also talented, I couldn’t see the reasoning behind seating them around the stage for the entirety of the performance as this seemed to substantially reduce their performance space.

Lines is cleverly structured to commence in a therapist’s office, and return to the night that Rora was assaulted. Thanks to this inventive chronology, the lasting impact of sexual assault can be understood in its full devastation. The play also rouses audiences to anger as Rora’s friends, in guilt for leaving her vulnerable, attempt to make excuses for what happened. In arguments all too often heard, they suggest that Rora simply regrets a consensual encounter and argue that she was to blame for drinking.

Video projections are effectively used to show different contexts of rape that can occur alongside Rora’s story. The website for Rainn, an anti-sexual violence organisation, becomes a powerful backdrop as the actors read personal accounts of others’ sexual assaults. This powerful scene was emotionally difficult to listen to, but forced to audience to acknowledge how frequently sexual assault occurs in such a wide range of forms.

Lines is a shocking and challenging drama that forces audiences to acknowledge the prevalence of sexual assault. Uncomfortable questions are asked.

Reviews by Carla van der Sluijs

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Who crossed the line? How do we define consent? In an honest and raw account, Lines draws its audience into the trauma inflicted on its central character. Through the confusion of conflicting interests and different versions of events runs an impactful seam of clarity, out of which emerges a truth Aurora and her family must confront. This topical drama exposes the multiple influences that drive society’s sexual agenda and its painful consequences. This begs the question: in a post-Harvey Weinstein world, where should new lines be drawn?

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