Writers: Amelia Lovsey and Stephanie Silver
Director: Michelle Pay
Control, it’s what most people – most men, prize above all else. And in the abhorrence of sexual assaults and rape, control is a central motivation to these heinous acts – and let it be remembered that consent is never the relinquishing of control.
For Liam, this evening is a mark of triumph and testosterone-fuelled glory. For Alice, it was a Walk of Shame. A night in which a woman’s decision in choosing freedom, sexual liberty and then eventually to change her mind comes at a cost. Amelia Lovsey and Stephanie Silver’s Walk of Shame is a segmented abridged scene for The Space UK’s second season of digital work, showcasing a twenty-minute slice of a re-worked full production.
Where Walk of Shame establishes itself is in a profound understanding not only of the modernity of supposed decorum and consent but the twisted visage of charm and sexual decadency. Notice how “walk of shame” is a term directed towards Alice, the shame of the experience, the shame in what she wears, how she flirts and acts – while Liam’s shame is in his actions, grossly ignored.
Physically and emotionally Silver’s performance of Alice makes the short snippet palpable. The desire for sex, freedom and choice is wholly representative, as is the horrific moral ‘implications’ and judgements of a woman desiring these things, as Liam’s lusts are commonplace, and repugnantly expected of laddish culture.
Despite their distance and monologue technique, the energy and bravado Silver and Sam Landon exude somehow transcends the space, tying the stories together and conjuring conceivable interactions between them. The writing conveys a deeply understandable sense of principle and understanding in Alice, a woman in control of her choices, her sexuality, and decisions. Director Michelle Payne achieves an internal struggle with the productions editing, flickering footage and grainy imagery, darkening the colour warmth as the show progresses demonstrating these choices being taken from Alice.
The production separates the perspectives of consent from a woman’s with that of a man, specifically a man with whom misogyny has been present throughout his life, from career-based to the influence of a mother who herself furthers experienced systemic misogyny. Charged on the age of plenty and immediate satisfaction, Liam is the epitome of the dangerous societal rewarding of patriarchal and abusive men, men who see authority and brutality as a strength, and who see the word ‘no’ as a challenge. And though Landon’s excessive coke-fuelled megalomaniac borders on stereotype – tragically, some men, particularly those of most toxic privilege, give authenticity to stereotype.
Unfathomably, consent seems to be a topic of argument and discussion, rather than the clear-cut position it should be – a topic Silver and Lovsey articulate well. As a taster, Walk of Shame comprises twenty minutes of a feature-length production and almost too uniformly compacts itself into a complete story. There’s more with Alice’s life and Liam’s history, and the aftermath of the assault, however, Silver and Lovsey perform too neat a job in presenting this excerpt. It’s in itself a complete parcel, evidently withholding gut-wrench and pain for the remainder of the story. Enough is transferred to the audience in Silver’s stoic and raw performance to grasp their attention, but too much is given away in satisfying audiences.
Runs here until 31 January 2021