Posts Tagged ‘Rosie Elnile’

Alice Birch has written 100 scenes about women’s experiences of the criminal justice system and set theatre companies the challenge of choosing 30 in any order to create a play. It’s like a jigsaw which itself challenges the audience, but the subject matter is challenging too. It’s bleak and sometimes harrowing, but it is insightful and thought-provoking.

The scenes vary in length and subject matter, some examining how the women ended up in the system at all, some showing the damage to relationships with mothers and children, some the impact of incarceration. One very long scene seems to turn the tables on those trying to help as their motivation and impact is questioned. It isn’t a linear narrative, some characters return, some don’t, yet it does provide a glimpse into these often seemingly hopeless situations, though its lack of hope brings the bleakness which does become a bit relentless.

Rosie Elnile’s two-tier design facilitates swift movement between scenes. Maria Aberg’s staging is stark and visceral. It would be invidious to single out any of the excellent ensemble of sixteen women. It’s staged as part of Clean Break’s 40th anniversary and it continues their campaigning, raising awareness. I was glad I saw it, though it wasn’t an easy ride.

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