I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream is not perfect, and that’s the whole point. Because our world is far from perfect, so fucking far. As a cis white man, I am exceptionally lucky in that society shovels less shit onto me than it does on many others. My upbringing has taught me to be polite, but my gender frequently instructs me to stamp and shout aggressively because that’s how I can get what I want. Walk over the weak to reach the lofty heights.

I’m tired of being polite

Abi Zakarian’s actors, all women, are tired of being polite. But that’s because our society has instructed them to be meek, to bow and pander to the male ego, to submit and subvert. These women have had enough.

I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream throws stereotypical scenarios and behaviours in our faces with unrelenting force, a call to shove them down the throat of the patriarchy and scream loudly while it chokes. And I hope our archaic, gendered system does gag and retch on this powerful production. Because it’s not a pill that should be swallowed. It’s a force that should not be reckoned with.

David Frankel directed The Devil Wears Prada. Darren Star created Sex And The City. Both are based on books from female novelists, yet both are warped into perpetuating a powerful woman as the bitch or the privileged. I hang my head in shame when I admit that these are two of my favourite entertainment shows, ones that gave me female role models when I was growing up.

It’s all a competition

Be the skinniest. Fuck the most. Find the most expensive apartment and the most expensive diamond ring, with the most beautiful trophy man on your arm. Rafaella Marcus’ direction smashes through all that competition with the sledgehammer of feminist reality – female empowerment is not achieved by exerting your aesthetic superiority over others. DIY Swedish vaginas; the ocean of omission; the need to be someone’s, otherwise you’re no one – Marcus and Zakarian forcefully break apart these tropes, the female positivity version of Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball.

I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream becomes increasingly unkempt and chaotic. Through forceful instruction, a consistent barrage of expectation and a lesson from Nuance and Context, the six women are driven to exhaustion, to orgasm, to desperation. They translate misogyny into actual truth; they attack their own gender stereotypes through the medium of the WI; they throw out comedic, stand-up confessionals. Then the show winds down and they return to apologising. Because they’ve had their say, their rant, their moment.

Fuck That. This Is Not The End. Zakarian and Marcus refuse to back down. They speak for all and they speak for none because how is it fair to push that burden of responsibility onto a single voice? But the revolution can be learnt, and I for one want to sit in the classroom with it as my teacher. I will drag my gender kicking and screaming if I have to. Because Zakarian, Marcus and the team behind I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream deserve to be heard. And like it or not, we will listen.

 

 

★★★★★

I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream runs as part of the VAULT Festival until 18 February 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.