She(Me) Reclaiming Shaming, showing as part of Brighton Fringe, is an array of sketches exploring and challenging the crippling consequences of expectation and influence from: the fashion industry, gender inequality, social media influencers, sexual assault, shame, and more. A cast of 6 strong performers navigate a powerful story of body ownership and the impossible hurdles to achieve it.
The 45-minute online performance, written and devised by the performers, shares talents in poetry, physical theatre, and dance. The piece is signposted with a lot of trigger warnings as it is far from light entertainment, but rather a hard-hitting call for change. The performers: Jade Flack, Marie-Jose Fulgence, Lisa-Marie Flowers Larson, Lia Marin, Jessica Porter and Georgia Rona, each appear for their sketch filmed from separate locations due to social distancing and government guidelines.
Some of the sketches struggle with execution, perhaps this is a result of pandemic limitations. Moments of unison and technical detail lose the power of solidarity intended. The creative aspect of the material is mostly unique and thought-provoking, leaving a lot of interpretation open to the imagination of the virtual audience. The empowering feature lies in the message: experiences are shared, statistics revealed, and vulnerabilities exposed.
Perhaps there is something hypocritical about expressing an opinion on a story devoted to female shame when I can’t immediately relate to gender specific content. However, the devised piece challenges the roles of male gender in promoting shame and expectation, therefore it is just as important a message – if not more important – to spark conversation amongst those who identify as male; in our external behaviours.
The bravery of the 6 performers and director/producer Shea Donovan, in creating a piece with explicitly vulnerable content, is highly commendable. The integrity of all involved is what knits together this piece into a highly important performance that could educate and empower a whole host of young women to challenge their own hurdles.