As you enter the theatre, you are confronted with the unusual sight of a woman in a bath tub. She is oblivious to the audience, clearly relaxing in her own world. The audience are not the only voyeurs, as there are a number of men on stage, dressed all in black gazing on from each side. There is also a screen at the front of the stage showing various adverts, each depicting women as sex objects. And so begins this brave and ambitious show by Anam theatre.
This is a play that deals with sexism, the way women see their bodies and how the world around us treats them. It is the story of three young women living in the same house and sharing the same bathroom, where most of the action is set. They are all very different in appearance and also in their views of the world, their dreams and aspirations.
There are a number of very impressive scenes, one where two women look through a porno magazine, seeing the way women are depicted, or another at a party where one of the characters talks of the gigantic model on a billboard who stares at her with dead eyes.
There are up to sixteen cast members on stage, along with the three main female characters there are ten men who leer at the women from the side of the stage and also three nine year old girls who play the women as their younger selves. There are video projections, musical interludes, web cams and camera phones all used to depict the modern age where everything is image. The level of technical difficulty of this piece is impressive and there was inventive use of technology although not all of it worked on the night!
At just over two hours, the piece would have been helped by some editing. Some of the sequences after the interval did meander, and didn’t add much overall. The show is not without its flaws, but these are possibly due to the level of ambition it has shown. It is a fascinating topic they have chosen to explore, and there are many interesting insights in this production, that lead you to view the world differently as you leave the theatre.
Low Level Panic by Clare McIntyre
Jul 14th – Jul 19th @ 7.30pm
Tickets: €15 (€12 conc.)
Director: Justin Martin
Starring: Sarah O’Toole, Eimear Kilmartin, Aoife Martyn, Jerry Fitzgerald and Eric Martyn
Introducing 9 year olds: Alannah Kelly, Alex Nilsson, and Abigail Somers.