Blog | The Female Body in Wartime

The Female Body in Wartime

By admin | November 8, 2017

by Colin Thomas

In Bad Roads, playwright Natalya Vorozhbit explores the effect that war has on intimacy. (Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

In Bad Roads, playwright Natalya Vorozhbit explores the effect that war has on intimacy. Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images.

The Female Body in Wartime

Sure, there are scripts about war. But how many of them are written from a female point of view? And how many of those examine the effect of war on romantic relationships, including their sexual aspect?

A combination of documentary and fiction, leading Ukranian playwright Natalya Vorozhbit’s new play Bad Roads—which will be produced at the Royal Court in London November 15 to 23—draws on the writer’s experience in the Donbass region of east Ukraine.

In Bad Roads, Vorozhbit juxtaposes Eros and death, glamour and horror. Young men and women, including a kidnapper and his hostage, negotiate the terrain.

According to this article by Sarah Dugdale, the play “opens with the monologue of a young woman who has fallen in love with a soldier and travels to the front line with him. It’s a poignant and vulnerable monologue: after desiring the soldier for days, she finds that PTSD has left him impotent and sex is impossible, but she reflects ironically that she earns her medal, the patriotic Ukrainian pendant he fastens around her neck, by performing oral sex on him: ‘Conviction is contagious, did you know – you can catch it through oral sex?’”

A Job to Change the World

Actor Mickey Rowe rehearses for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. (Photo by Shane Lavalette for The New York Times.)

Actor Mickey Rowe rehearses for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Photo by Shane Lavalette for The New York Times.

Twenty-nine-year-old Seattle actor Mickey Rowe is probably the first actor living with autism to be cast as Christopher, the 15-year-old autistic boy at the centre of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. 

He’s playing the role in a production that opened at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and has since moved to Syracuse Stage.

In this piece from The New York Times, he explains that he doesn’t think that roles like Christopher should necessarily be played by people with autism, but he thinks those artists should be given a shot: “I think it’s theater’s job to change the world. I think it has a lot more power than it knows it has. And with that power comes great responsibility.”

In a revelation that many actors will no doubt identify with, Rowe says that, although social interactions often make him nervous, he’s more comfortable when he knows what part he’s supposed to play.

Tired of always trying to appear neurotypical, the young actor wrote a coming out essay about living with autism for HowlRound.

Lucky You

Ben Brantley of The New York Times recommends The Band’s Visit at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. (Photo by Sara Krulwich for The New York Times)

Ben Brantley of The New York Times recommends The Band’s Visit at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. Photo by Sara Krulwich for The New York Times.

When folks are heading to New York or London, they often ask me what shows I think they should see. The New York Times just made my job a little easier by recommending five plays that you should see if you’re in New York this November.

If you’re heading to London, here are six fringe theatre venues that The Stage’s Mark Shenton thinks you should check out. (I always recommend The Royal Court as well.)

And, if you’re going to stay home, here are 15 Broadway plays and musicals that you can watch from your couch.

Virtual Survivor

Survivors of the Holocaust are dying of old age, but holograms of some of them will stay around—and converse with you.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Illinois, just outside Chicago has recorded holographic images of 13 survivors. In the museum’s holographic theatre, those images will invite audience members to ask questions and then appear to have conversations with them.

Fritzie Fritzshall, a survivor who was interviewed by the Washington Post, says that she participated in the project “so that the world can remember what happened to us, so it cannot ever happen to anyone else.” She is disturbed by increasingly bold expressions of hate, including the swastika-laden demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia this August.

Yoohoo!

News about Vancouver playwright and director Marcus Youssef tops this week’s edition of my newsletter.

News about Vancouver playwright and director Marcus Youssef tops this week’s edition of my newsletter.

This week’s edition of my free newsletter includes all sort of local news, including items about local playwright Marcus Youssef winning the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize and giving half of it to emerging Vancouver playwright Christine Quintana. There’s a piece about Electric Company Theatre taking over the Playhouse and, of course, an item welcoming Laura Efron as the new Executive Director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

There’s international news, too: Jim Parsons (Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) and Zachary Quinto (Spock in the new Star Wars movies) will star in a 50th-anniversary remount of the seminal gay play The Boys in the Band, for instance.

If you’d like to receive next week’s newsletter, sign up here.

What’s Up?

Trisha Collins and Aaron Craven are two of the smart actors in Mitch and Murray’s production of Smart People. (Photo by Shimon Karmel)

Trisha Collins and Aaron Craven are two of the smart actors in Mitch and Murray’s production of Smart People. Photo by Shimon Karmel.

What should you see this week? I recommend Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People, which Mitch and Murray Productions is mounting at Studio 16. It’s a very nuanced, often funny, sometimes moving examination of race.

Smart People runs until November 18 and you can buy tickets here.

Cirque du Soleil’s spectacular Kurios is also still one of the best shows in town. It runs until New Year’s Eve. Here’s where to buy tickets.

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