Hole by Ellie Kendrick
So as I write this - I am conscious of how many reviews I've done of late from the Royal Court Theatre, and am slightly feeling like their bitch. Ironically, the diverse female cast of Hole did a fabulous job of shouting, unapologetically – that woman/ females/ Womxn are exhausted by a system that have capitalised on having us as their bitch. These ladies are climbing out of a hole, that doesn’t just represent our private parts – but a space (clearly shaped out on stage) that has been used to silent our oppression. Let us take back control!!
One symbolic feature of the Hole was the first scene – whereby each woman, one by one, attempted to give her account of being sexually assaulted, harassed, and raped. In the middle of their sentence (quite literally) the microphone would turn off. In addition, when each woman would stand in a particular place – the spotlight would move! I found this concept interesting, as it had a God-like patricarchal feel about it and I felt indirectly asks the question –
Who is in power?
Who controls what?
How much can we (actually) say?
And that is the very loose premise of Hole. Like it or loathe it for being very much feminist and direct in speaking out against the over saturated male perspective – it is very much a production that breaks the mold and convention around how theatre should be. I loved this about it! Throughout, the cast addressed the audience directly smashing down the bull shit notion of a fourth wall but looking us in our eyes and I loved this! Now… as some of you may or may not know, I identify as a Womanist not a feminist. And so, there were definite times in watching Hole – where my eyes rolled at a perspective that shares my gender but not my race. I literally took all of the questions that were being shouted at to the males of the audience, and asked them to White people! You should play it too J So every time you read or watch something screaming Female Rights… swap it to Black rights and it works just as well. And not to intentionally make myself a double victim of White patriarchy… but… Well… I’m a double victim of White patriarchy. Now Hole had a diverse cast – there were more than just White women on stage, which was beautiful to see. And also diverse in height, shape and energy so for the first time in Sharla Reviews history casting gets rated - full stars…
But how diverse is the writer, because to be frank that’s who we’re really listening to right?
Casting loses a star just because I'm skeptical on how great the cast selection was. What I mean by this, Is that we call something 'diverse' because it ticks all the relevant boxes. But I actually thnk we are further behind in diversity than the British media wants to admit. We still do not accept a diverse way of thinking. And often the Black and Brown people I meet have been conditioned, programmed, brain-washed into accepting and believing the western status quo.
Another hard one to rate - as all the woman were playing women and so there was no acting involved. Their different energies were impressive - as wiith a production like this, you can all express the same conventional way of being female. However, because of the cast - I suspect this was not really an issue. I especially was positively distracted by Ronke Adekoluejo's hair and beauty, as well as her powerful acting. Seldom do I go to the Theatre and see a Black woman without a wig... and that includes an afro. So I was mesmerised at this actresses long auburn locs - swinging infront of me.
The story is not linear, which is great! However, I lost the purpose at times but thoroughly enjoyed going on the quite ecstatic journey.
Hole is on at the Royal Court until Saturday 12th January
Comment below if you’ve seen Hole with your thoughts and feelings.