Slut is a powerful and confronting look at what it means to be a girl and woman. Written by Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius and directed by Erin Taylor. Slut is currently enjoying a full season run at The Old Fitz Theatre in Woolloomooloo after a sell-out festival performance.
Jessica Keogh stars as the titular character Lolita, alongside Julia Dray, Bobbie-Jean Henning, Danielle Stamoulos, and Maryann Wright as her friends and fellow school girls. ‘He’s dead. An innocent man is dead,’ the girls echo on the small stage as the play begins. ‘A good man. A man with a family.’ There is a Greek Chorus element to these school girls as they place us in the centre of the action… or rather at the end of it.
Slut is the story of how this good, innocent completely unrelated man wound up dead. But not really. What Slut is really exploring is the early sexualisation of girls and women and how we are socialised to believe this unwanted attention is normal and signs of love and affection. Slut, through the story of these five girls, shows how destructive the early sexualisation of girls is. For Lolita that began aged 9 when she started Year 4 with tits. By 12 she was the subject of their teacher’s lust. At first it was exciting.
‘We all knew the touch of hug that lasted a little too long, or a kiss that was a little too wet.’
The performances are tight and powerful. Keogh is a standout with her tragic Lolita. The small space just adds to the intimacy and power of the play. While only 35 minutes Slut says everything it needs to and leaves the audience with plenty to process.
Lolita’s tragic story is one that every girl and woman can relate to. We have all been in situations the girls speak of. For some, like Lolita they revel in the attention. They are a slut, and are celebrated for it. Until one day they’re not. Because women can’t be seen to be sexual creatures. The great tragedy of Lolita is her inability to navigate and balance her sexuality, society and her friendships. She becomes an outcast, a slut.
Lara Bendeich spends much of her free time trapesing round Sydney’s theatres, always with a drink in hand. Follow her musings at @elleellabee.
Lolita is on at The Old Fitz Theatre from 13-24 June. See redlineproductions.com.au for tickets and more information.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Red Line Productions.
Image credit: Red Line Productions.