It’s great that currently there is increased discussion around the representation of women and minority groups in theatre, both in New Zealand and internationally. What’s not so great is when men, however well intentioned, think they can make a useful contribution to the discussion but instead end up providing a great example of the problem. That seems to be what’s happened with the recent fringe show “Actressexual” by Sam Brooks. I haven’t seen the show myself, but some of the responses to it are worth reading:
- Speaking for Ourselves: A Response to Actressexual, by Rachael Longshaw-Park
- Whose Voise is it Anyway: a review of Actressexual, by Kate Prior
Both of these responses include women’s voices and reference the significant efforts made by women over decades to change the status quo which, apparently, and weirdly, it seems the play itself does not do. Instead of focusing on the actual issues and giving space to women, the playwright chose to focus on himself and male playwrights.
With this post I don’t really want to give more space to Brooks, but to draw attention to the thoughtful responses and to the many women writing excellent roles for women – let’s put them on stage, and let the men go off and bitch about each other on their own!