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Put a red circle round her flaws: the relevance of our April show

By Simon Truscott

Unbelievably, we are now over a year into Donald Trump’s presidency. He is clearly a man known for his egalitarian, progressive attitude towards women. The Harvey Weinstein harassment scandal still sending shockwaves around the world and into every profession or industry, thanks to #MeToo. The gender pay gap seems just as pervasive. The question is, how did they happen in 2017? How is it acceptable for these to remain such a huge problem in 2018 when lads mags and page three are pretty much things of the past?

Our April show, NSFW, by renowned playwright Lucy Kirkwood, comes to you here in Wandsworth exactly a century since women won the right vote after the Representation of the People Act in 1918. The protagonists in our play all think they’re in control, morally and professionally - and that what they’re doing is ok. But then, the reality might strike a different chord if something were to come crashing down on them...

This dark comedy explores the fate of glossy print journalism and the effects on the people caught up in its underbelly. It’s largely about inappropriacy and going too far, not least because we have a nudity warning on our posters on the side of our sleepy church hall venue. Learning the lines on the underground has been, erm, interesting - especially when your headphones pop out and the app doesn’t stop broadcasting the various flaws women’s bodies might possibly be labeled with on photoshop.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that internships are often unpaid, unfair and unrewarding. NSFW asks whether it’s only women who are broken and abused by the exploitation of the young, the misguided, the beautiful, the less-well-off, and the plain innocent. In London’s cut-throat media industry and beyond, are there still parallels? Certainly, most graduates moving to London have to make do with less-than-ideal first jobs. But we hope most don’t have an experience quite like this. Still, to quote our show, that’s just “the climate”, yeah?

As for me? This is my second performance with New Stagers, who have become my South London family and I could not be prouder to work with such a committed, talented and lovely “bunch of amateurs”. Don’t worry, they’re actually quite good, as recently referenced in The Guardian here. I wasn’t too badly emotionally scarred by last time, so it also marks my return to working with director Orna Joseph, producer Sharron Stubbs and way-more-than-a- prompt Fi Makujina. I also worked with Hayley Richardson last year in Happy to Help. Joining our troupe are New Stagers veterans Stephen Beard, Laura Chisholm, David Kelly and John Davis. We can’t wait to show you what silly things we’ve been doing with our Tuesday and Sunday nights in rehearsal.


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