“I like to help women help themselves, as that is, in my opinion, the best way to settle the woman question. Whatever we can do and do well we have a right to, and I don’t think anyone will deny us.” Louisa May Alcott
The project revolved around three new plays being performed in repertory through out October 2012. The season focused on women who have helped themselves and have strived to succeed in life. They are three inspiring plays predominantly written by Berri George, who was a part of the Royal Court’s invitation writers group. Most recently she had one of her short plays programmed at this year’s High Tide Festival as part of their Brunch Plays . Whore was part of this year’s New Writing Festival at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
The three plays:
Directed by Adam Dattis, Mad Women examines the perceived madness of Mary Shelley, whose sensational personal life and loss of her children found release in her novel Frankenstein; Emily Dickinson, the 19th century American whose poems reached far beyond the confines of her reclusive life; the utopian feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman, plagued by depression, whose story The Yellow Wallpaper highlighted the horrors of confinement for women termed ‘mad’ and Virginia Woolf, the modernist genius whose own demons would eventually consume her.
4 stars out of 5 ✭✭✭✭☆ ‘Barefaced Theatre is an exceedingly creative company that teems with imagination, intellect and realism. Not only does [Mad Women] explore fascinating people and ideas, but it tells their stories in unconventional ways that have been replaying in my head since I saw it.’ A Younger Theatre, 2012
4 stars out of 5 ✭✭✭✭☆ ‘The production itself was creatively staged throughout…I found Mad Women a complex, creative and challenging evening’s entertainment which provided a fresh look at the work of four important female writers, whilst questioning how ‘madness’ can truly be defined’ Backstage Pass, 2012
‘…the play is polished and passionate throughout….. Mad Women is a clearly personal production, bolstered by clear writing and some great performances.’ Views From the Gods, 2012
‘We were transfixed by the action on stage.’ Itchy City, 2012
‘Barefaced Theatre’s latest enterprise is ambitious and creative, with a talented cast.’ So So Gay, 2012
Directed by Tim Sullivan, Whore is a bold, innovative insight into four of history’s most interesting prostitutes. Meet Theresa Berkley, a 19th Century Dominatrix, Marie Duplessis, a famous French courtesan, Polly Adler, a New York 1920’s brothel madam with heavy links to the mob, and Valerie Solanas, American prostitute turned Warhol assassin.
‘Barefaced Theatre’s latest enterprise is ambitious and creative, with a talented cast. To see something different, articulate and informed, get a ticket for Whore, wrap up warm, and prepare to learn something new about 19th century BDSM.’ So So Gay, 2012
‘In my view Whore represents a masterful piece of playwriting. At times it was provocative but throughout there was a sense of deep discomfort at what was being revealed - it left me feeling very troubled. Whore features excellent performances from the four female leads portraying these women who, against all the odds, had taken control of their own lives. ‘Whore’ is definitely one to put in your diary.’ Londoneer, 2012
‘★★★☆☆ - [Whore] … a history lesson, albeit one with a more spicy nature than you would expect to find in the classroom.’ Views from the Gods, 2012
‘The Women on Top: A Significant Role season can be seen as a response to the perceived lack of female opportunities in the London theatre industry, which many proclaimed were rife during the gender inequality debate earlier this year. The season, and the all-female cast of Whore in particular, exemplifies a particularly talented group of theatre makers. Whore is a provocative production which reveals the history of prostitution and the seedy underside of the sex industry.” One Stop Arts, 2012
Directed by Sean Turner, All Hidden charts the stories of two courageous women; Eileen Nearne, an SOE during the Second World War and Sophie Walker, an intelligence officer within MI5 today. These are two women, both past and present that survived and strived and fought for their countries in an incredibly passionate and brave way. They are all skilled, all brave, and all talented but resolutely all hidden.
‘All Hidden is … strong new work that makes for a particularly interesting night at the theatre. Spring boarding from an exciting true story from recent history makes the production have contemporary relevance and educational benefits. This is an elegant, well-researched work that will appeal to historians and Homeland fans alike.’ One Stop Arts, 2012
‘I enjoyed the acting from the female leads and the limited staging was used to great effect.’ Londoneer, 2012
‘The staging is equally well thought out - with scenes cutting quickly from current day to World War II, pieces are rearranged and reused, keeping changeovers as smooth as possible…. Eileen’s story is one of many that does not have the prominence in history it deserves, making Barefaced Theatre’s aim of bringing it back into the public eye a very laudable and successful one.’ Views from the Gods, 2012
‘..Enjoyed it a lot and liked what had been developed with the stories and I think others would as well. In fact ….it’s the kind of play that would do well onstage at The Royal Court…. it’s definitely something more people should see and definitely has the potential to be a full two-act play.’ Been There - London That, 2012
Each play was performed throughout the whole of October at the amazing PopUp Cinema in the middle of Portobello Market - underneath the M4 flyover. We experimented with both video art and animation throughout, making these shows immersive, innovative and provocative pieces of theatre.
Also involved within the Significant Role season:
What is Scratch Beneath?
What happens when new artists scratch beneath the surface of their potential to bring new ideas out into the world as the beginnings of a new piece of work, presented as a mini show? Let’s see.
Barefaced Theatre is passionate about new writing and is always looking to encourage and collaborate with new writers and theatre companies, so we opened up a very exciting opportunity where we presented five new pieces of work from five new groups and individuals alongside our new, one act play All Hidden
The 5 mini scratch performances included:
Postcards from Medea by Jose Gandia, a re-telling of Euripides classic Greek tragedy performed by Ophelia Bellio, Cristina Lazaro, Alexia Mankoskaya, Oliver Gatten, Matthew Bianchieri, and Ricardo Gosalbo.
Halb - Welt Kultur: The life of the Weimar Girls performed by Stephanie Hampton and directed by Padraig Kennedy, is a one-woman mini musical which conjures, recreates and pays homage to six legendary women from the scandalous époque in-between wars in Germany.
First Night, a welcome distraction? After all, the first night’s always the hardest, written and performed by Pete Maxey.
The Lemons, written and performed by Lowri Jenkins and directed by Anna Nguyen, this is a one-woman mini show about living in a world of endless options and our attempts to build a sense of meaning out of the mess.
Follow the process through our BAREFACED THEATRE BLOG