After a year of directing, experimenting, and devising in the rehearsal room I finally directed properly again with new writing by Laura Denmar, titled Miss Socialshite. The story is narrated by one female lead and no other characters. She is trapped in her virtual world which she believes are her friends and family and yet she seeks to break free from possibly this world but also her abusive relationship. I used the chairs to divide the different worlds Miss Socialshite occupied: her social world, the world in which she wants to admit her flawed relationship and desire to be different, and then finally the world in-between where the question of continuing or not with her life as it is hangs on the question of tomorrow.
I love to work with pieces of writing, which centre around a woman speaking alone on stage. It is beautiful to create performance where the stage is given to a woman alone, and her voice is heard without interruption. I also find it interesting for storytelling, that even when a male character is present on stage, but not speaking, it does something powerful to the reception of the story. I am not sure how far this mode of performance would support efforts of subversion, or whether or not it can ignite radical sparks in the mind of audience members. It just can become something that is done over and over to re-emphasise a need that we all have: to see women as they are when they are truly themselves.
I believe it's not enough to write strong female leads, I think it's important to show them as the lead in whatever situation or circumstance they find themselves in. Even the somewhat archaic notion of a damsel in distress should, in my opinion, unapologetically take up time, attention, and space on screen and stage. Women do not have to be superheroes to symbolize empowerment. Women can be exactly who they are, by themselves, in their ordinary lives, and that can be deemed a high-quality performance because it's closer to reality than flying capes.
"Miss Socialshite" was performed at The Southwark Playhouse in 2018.