Paperclip Theatre present a night of shorts, Voices From The Deep, as part of the Who Runs The World festival at the King's Head Theatre. Ed Nightingale pays a feminist nod to The Bard:

Paperclip Theatre are an all-female theatre company who put women’s stories at the centre of their work. Their inclusion at the King’s Head Theatre’s female-focused Who Runs The World? theatre festival, then, is apt.

Voices From The Deep presents simply a series of original monologues that highlight the injustice of women throughout history. Each is written in Shakespearean blank verse with plenty of references to The Bard’s work. It not only provides a sense of poetry to the evening, but serves to emphasise a comparison between the women of history and today. We may be shocked at the treatment of these figures, but many of their struggles remain relevant to the modern woman.

Women are unfairly compared; their legacy is misremembered or undervalued; they harbour only hysteria and jealousy for one another; they lack control over their own lives. Each of the monologues touches on these themes with biting satire, farcical comedy, and melancholy.

Particularly clever is an opening piece that pits Queen Elizabeth I against Mary Queen of Scots. Did you know that the latter was a successful poet? Instead she’s remembered predominantly for murder. So much of history is lost, yet here they are to finally present the truth of their lives.

Later on, the final monologue depicts a utopian vision in a nod to the fantastical forest of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Three brides-to-be flee from their husbands at the altar, finally taking control of their lives – much to the dismay of the wedding officiant who’s forced to ‘diversify’ as a result.

Voices From The Deep touches upon a number of themes in a collage of female injustice. Performed by an assured cast of female actors with great clarity, the evening provides plenty of comedy with its Shakespearean references and silliness. Yet beneath it all is a serious and poignant social message – the show does just enough to provoke thought long after the laughter subsides.

 

 

Voices From The Deep ran at the King’s Head Theatre on 7 May 2018 as part of the Who Runs The World festival. For further information, please visit the venue website.