On the last day of November, I attended “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” I did no prior research on the play besides a brief script-skimming. I was excited about the play, because I saw the word “vagina” numerous times.
It was my first time in Todd Union in over a year. I scanned the room for familiar faces and decided to sit in the center of the front row with my dear friend. (This is protocol for seat-finding with my short stature.)
The seats were nearly completely filled for the show’s second performance. The stage was set up with three boxes filled with the colors yellow, green, and red. Soon enough, actors filled those spaces wearing outfits donning the same hues.
The first few scenes seemed to be set in modern day, like one where a guy wants to sleep with a girl. But the characters’ matter of speech and dress made it a little difficult to distinguish the time period. It didn’t help that in the second scene, a female character described marriage as a way to own a woman, which I don’t believe is the case today.
This scene, along with the title, set the show’s mood. It let the audience know that this was a feminist play and that women weren’t going to stay silent. They were going to fight back and question the commonplace normativity of language used for relationship topics like sex and marriage. Are the conventional ways of regarding sex objectifying? What does marriage really mean? Does the institution of marriage truly exhibit the feelings of oneness and unity till death?
When the first three scenes were done, only 15 minutes had passed. I was eager to see how else the space was going to be configured to tell the story, since the three color-settings were already used. And then, all of a sudden, they pushed the middle box to the ground and the next scene began. From that point on, things started to get increasingly figurative.
The wordiness of the first three scenes was apparent, but the dialogue was understandable. After that, the dialogue throughout the play was no longer self-explanatory. The audience had to figure things out through things popping out of nowhere.
My favorite scenes were the ones that startled me most. All the actors were on stage doing something: selling whole hymens or sliding out from beneath my seat, creating smoke, flashing lights, or making an explosion of confetti with words written on each piece. My heart raced as I tried to pick up as much confetti as I could, thinking that they contained different messages. But they all spelled the word “galvanize.”
Galvanize means to shock or excite someone in hopes of taking action. The people involved in the play definitely succeeded at shocking me. I thoroughly enjoyed the quality of acting that was showcased. At one point, someone dropped their keys; although this was not part of the script, sophomore Olivia Banc (actor and Campus Times columnist) instinctually asked, “What was that?” This showed how in-character she was, and I admired her performance throughout the show.
After reading the program and talking to two of the cast members, Banc and first-year Dayna Moonegan, many loose ends were sewn together. This is a play that questions common words we use today, like freedom. It works to reclaim womanhood after a traumatic event and discusses the ways the dehumanization process shifts from using womanly titles like mother and wife to the physical shutting down of the body. The idea of the play is empowering because, in the end, four women start a new world without men. Though this sounds far from ever coming to fruition, it’s admirably rebellious.
Be warned. The play has a lot of mouth action. Not only with too much verbal performance, but also with elements exiting the body: vomit, blood, tongues — I could go on. If you have seen any of the artist Marina Abromovíc’s works, the play is noticeably influenced by things she’s done and the creative approach of avant-garde.
There are lots of flashing lights, so epileptic theater-goers should be cautious. Otherwise, you should go. And make sure you sit in the front and collect as much confetti as you can.