locker room talk

locker room talk

Locker room talk

Play made by collaborative team Ada Mukhina (directing), Daria Iuriichuk (choreography), Olga Tarakanova (drama);
Space design and video-art by Sofya Skidan

Our collaborative team gathered because of a piece called Locker Room Talk. It was written by the Scottish playwright Gary McNair and published in 2017. We were the first to translate it into Russian.  This verbatim play consists of 14 chapters, comprised of real-life conversations with men. Our performance is a conference consists of 8 presentations, each based on different chapters. We have used the original text of the play as a starting point for our field research. Instead of performing the piece we quoted and described the most striking parts of these conversations and deconstruct the situations that these men refer to.

The texts were taken from conversations that Gary McNair had with different men — teenage boys, lawyers, workers, doctors, sportsmen — conversations between men about women when women were not around. Our first impression of this text was that it gives women access to a reality that is usually hidden from them. This is something we know of only by hearsay. On our own we would never be able to get a hold of  these testimonies, but for a male playwright it was easy to get the respondents to open up. We were impressed by the play, but we did not want these words to have power over us. Instead we decided to study the way our bodies — female bodies — reacted to these words. Our team, from the director to the lighting artist and performers, is exlusively female, of those who define their gender as female, and those whose bodies are identified as female.

Screenshots from video-art

Within rehearsals-laboratories we examined  the emotional and sensory response of our bodies to these words. Language has power over us and we wanted to document how this power manifests itself. This is why our presentations are not just about the academic language, but also about performance, media-technology and even interaction. It is important that the audience is observing their reactions during each presentation. What emotions do they feel, is it anger, joy, love or sadness? Every emotion has a right to exist. How does their bodies feel — relaxed or tensed in anticipation of a fight? We ask the audience make a mental record of their reactions through the show and of any questions that might arise. At the end we open up the floor to share the experience they have had during the hour.

The Meyerhold Theatre Centre