You’ve apparent her before. Her arch is agee back, faux smile bashed ear-to-ear, a dressing-less bloom in one duke and a angle in the other. Her eyes are bisected bankrupt in a action of authentic beatitude because yum! — what could be tastier than a scattering of apparent romaine and GMO’d tomatoes? To the woman bedlam abandoned with salad, there seems to be actually annihilation better.
The angel of a abandoned woman bistro bland, advantageous aliment serves as the apathetic afflatus for Sheila Callaghan’s soulful ball “Women Bedlam Abandoned with Salad.” Callaghan’s aphotic feminist ball does not so abundant capsize these banal images of automatons as it turns the aggregate on aerial and magnifies them to an ear-shattering blare of feminine frustration. It’s loud, it hurts, it can sometimes feel like a Judith Butler address pumped up on steroids, but oh boy, is it a accomplished lot added appetizing than a blah garden salad.
The ball begins with a simple tableau: three bearding women (Melanie DuPuy, Regina Morones and Sango Tajima) sit on a esplanade bench, decked out in raincoats, and activate to eat their salads. That sounds accustomed enough, right?
But soon, in amid bites, anniversary of the three woman alpha to laugh. It’s a cackle at first, afresh a deep-belly cackle and assuredly a full-body, agitated roar. Their mouths are open, we see the salad, and it’s disgusting. What was cute, baby and in-check is now monstrous. Then, enters a man (Caleb Cabrera) who ancestor bottomward on the bench, manspreads and pulls out a aberrant burrito. The women quiet bottomward and beam at the burrito with a aching longing. These women accept never apparent annihilation as admirable as that burrito before. But they can’t accept it.
This may all complete a tad dramatic, and it is, but that is Callaghan and administrator Susannah Martin’s accomplished point. They aggrandize struggles men booty for accepted (i.e. a arena depicting what the characters should adjustment for brunch becomes the best affecting in the play) into issues of activity and death.
We chase Guy (Cabrera), a middle-class, angry English alum who cannot accept why his adherent Tori (Tajima) won’t aloof adjustment a burger every already in a while. Yet, aback Guy meets Meredith (Morones) at a club one night, he sees article different. He sees addition physically and emotionally beyond than life, a babe whom he is abnormally admiring to because she is a brace sizes beyond than he’s acclimated to. Does Guy affliction that Meredith has her own anatomy issues, too? No, she’s a article that has to be obtained, an alien t that he wants to reel in.
This, however, is not your archetypal “love triangle.” Callaghan imbues every faculty of “Women Bedlam Abandoned with Salad” with an in-your-face abusive acuteness that abandoned hardly lets up in the play’s additional act. Aback a woman eats a vegetable, she groans as if she’s mid-orgasm. Salads abatement from the sky, bill shoots from the wings and Tajima gives a valant lip-synced achievement to Kanye West’s “Power” that alike RuPaul would applaud.
Mikiko Uesugi’s beauteous set architecture magnifies these details, surrounding the characters and the admirers with bankable images and videos of women acquisitive up apparent salads or, as the narrator recounts, “wearing white pants and accomplishing cartwheels while on my period.” The performance’s acknowledged use of multimedia gives ambience to the animal ball onstage and perpetuates the altercation that the characters’ internalized misogyny is not some accidental activity but anon perpetuated by media producers and their capitalistic instincts.
It would be accessible to become absolutely conflicting by the twists, jumbles and endless bloom bowls. But Callaghan’s characters consistently reel us aback in. They should all be cliches — but the autograph is too specific and the acting is too anxious to go there.
Callaghan and Martin’s ball is a lot, and agilely so. They aggrandize the internalized misogyny and abundance aural all of us and ask us what we’re activity to do about it. Are we activity to attending at a banal photo of a woman bedlam abandoned with bloom and see an aspirational representation of delicacy or a address of commodification and destruction? It’s adamantine to say, but abrogation the Ashby Stage, you’ll apperceive one affair for sure: You’ll never appetite to blow a bloom again.
Contact Nils Jepson at [email protected].
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