*Contains spoilers. Get over it*
The audience enters. A projection screen, a chair SR and a bottle of water SL. The lights go down and the man begins to speak.
A man sits on a chair as we all enter the auditorium and sit down. He is calm, collected, and tells us about how he and his best friend Stacy –
Pause. Show picture of Stacy on the screen.
– slept together ‘accidentally’. It was good fun, though he was a bit shit (you know how men can be) and now he’s decided to come back to her flat (which isn’t actually a flat but a few rooms above the landlord’s house) to apologise. Thing is, she’s not in. Shona –
Pause. Picture of Shona.
– is though and she makes him a cup of tea.
Pause. Picture of a cup of tea.
I then realised that there is a pause each time the picture changes. There’s also a clicking sound which may or may not be in time with the changing of the slides, which I guess implies that it’s 1985. Only it’s not 1985. It’s 2013. And this is a PowerPoint presentation, not a slide machine (is that what they’re called? I haven’t seen one for about a decade). So the clicking made me remember that I was in a theatre.
Pause. Picture of a theatre.
But back to the story. Rob (that’s his name) ends up recounting how he rapes Shona, though he didn’t realise it while he was doing it, even though it makes him upset. This is a monologue which considers rape culture and its effects on individuals. Normally in a play like this the rape would happen at the end so that the empathy we’ve built up for the character is suddenly challenged, but instead Joe Mellor (who plays Rob) has to try harder to get us laughing at his jokes –
Pause. A picture of a banana skin.
– again. He’s definitely been a bastard and is a rapist, but he’s funny so maybe it’s ok, right? At one point, Rob mentions his dad –
Pause. A white screen.
– but the screen goes blank, which I suppose means that we’re meant to imagine that it was a problematic relationship with his father that has caused him to become the monster that he is now. But what do I know, eh?
Pause. A picture of the man pulling a silly face.
So, now Rob goes to work after an awkward conversation with his brother.
Pause. Picture of his brother. Then a picture of a boob. Then a picture of his brother.
He works at a call centre and is flustered (I imagine because he raped someone, but he doesn’t say that so maybe that isn’t the case) so manages to balls-up –
Pause. A photo of some balls.
– his first call –
Pause. A photo of a phone.
– of the day. The man then gets a bit sad, and I think I even saw some tears in his eyes –
Pause. A photo of a man crying hysterically.
– but then I suddenly remembered I couldn’t feel sorry for him because he’s a rapist. Laura Woodward’s production then becomes a bit self-aware before the lights go down and I got up from my chair and lots of thoughts began swarming round my head. You know? The writer then looks back at what he’s just written and files his article.