Delve into an hour of real
Stirs and evokes emotions and anger inside you and unites its audience in asking one important question. What can we do to fix the problem of everyday, complacent sexism?
Gary McNair interviewed 100s of men of all ages, backgrounds and professions for Locker Room Talk to give us a not-so-secret look into what men say about women. The end result is a selection of 56 different anonymous voices, performed, in their own words, by a cast of four women on stage. This powerful and moving dialogue is performed in real-time as the cast mimic the interviewees’ words as they listen to them on an iPod and earphones on stage.
The words heard from these interviewees are not original or unique, you will have heard them many times before, but there is new level of presumed normalcy and acceptance uncovered in these words when they are presented by females – the subject matter of this ‘banter’ – that exposes this ‘harmless banter’ in a different light.
Guided by various topics and questions, we hear the words of doctors, lawyers, school kids, stag-dos, five-a-sides, uni students, husbands, fathers and boyfriends through our all-female cast. We begin by listening to discussions about the ‘perfect woman’, and the differing scoring systems men use to rate a women’s attractiveness. This quickly develops into discussion over whether women are equal to men in terms of strength and their ability to carry out a job.
The cast – Jamie Marie Leary, Joanna Tope, Maureen Carr and Rachael Spence – do a fantastic job at portraying the different personalities of the individuals they are portraying. Some of the impressions – particularly a number from Spence – are really funny, and some of the ridiculous content of these interviews are hard not to laugh at.
As momentum builds and we delve further into topics like sexism, gender equality and feminism, the material does become darker, and yet is all too familiar. Feminism is described as a, “toxic ideology,” and “sexism towards men,” by some of our male voices, whilst some proudly identify themselves as feminists. This much darker and sinister material is brought to a climax when McNair questions the interviewees about where the line is drawn in ‘locker room talk’and ‘boy’s banter,’ and this does draw uncomfortable silence from the audience.
McNair and director, Orla O’Loughlin have managed to take a nasty but important topic of conversation and have made it something beautiful, accessible and deeply moving. Locker Room Talk is what theatre is meant to be: it stirs and evokes emotions and anger inside you and unites its audience in asking one important question. What can we do to fix the problem of everyday, complacent sexism?