Precious Adesina reviews LZA’s production of A Woman Alone at the Etcetera Theatre.
A Woman Alone, written by Dario Fo in 1977, is a monologue piece that is delivered to the audience – the choice to perform this play in Etcetera Theatre was a positive one in that it worked well within its confinements. If you’ve ever been to a play at Etcetera Theatre before, then you know it’s a small space, above The Oxford Arms pub in Camden, with very little room for scene changes or extravagant set design.
The play takes place in a locked apartment living room with laundry hanging across the room and piled on the floor, as the eccentric “housewife,” Marina Margarita, insistently attempts to iron. She fails incredibly, due to copious distractions, including being in conversation with us, the audience, her neighbours.
Throughout the show, we were taken through the steps as to what led her husband to lock her indoors with her sex-pest brother-in-law and her baby. It is revealed that she had recently had an affair with a much younger man, which she subtly puts down to emotional, sexual and physical abuse by her husband.
During her hour-long speech, she is interrupted by the crying baby, sexual harassment from her brother-in-law, her younger lover, her husband, a peeping tom and an undesired man who constantly rings to proclaim his sexual desires. This leaves her very much in a permanent state of angst, which the audience sees slowly transform into a state of uncontrollable anger.
The show appears to represent the oppressive nature of a patriarchal society, highlighting its inevitable and disastrous impending downfall. It employs some sense of humour to the dark comedy, though some jokes fall short. With the small audience that attended the show, her attempts to get the audience to laugh by screaming the word “orgasm”, which she finds unnerving, gets lost when only one member understands Maria’s intention. Thus, the word is merely quietly echoed by a nervous audience member in the back.
All in all, I would say the show was somewhat successful though it could have helped to think about adapting the play to a contemporary audience through the support of lighting and music, which it did not do (at least not successfully) until the very end.
Featured Image: Hilary Knox