Adult Orgasm Escaped from the Zoo
- Gareth K Vile
- 29 August 2018
This article is from 2018
A pair of monologues that never become a dialogue
Two dynamic performances of Dario Fo monologues, Adult Orgasm identifies Fo's resistance to Italian conservatism within a determinedly feminist context: interrupting each other, one follows the journey to childbirth, the other fixes on an oppressed housewife. Yet despite the energy and talent of the performers, the two stories never cohere, rather telling two very different versions of oppression that has little to say to each other.
The housewife's routine is more comic, and cruder. Locked into the home by a jealous husband and longing for the embrace of her younger love, the wife is menaced by threatening phone-calls and a peeping tom: the women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy – and the indignity of a health service that is more interested in her money than her well-being – is gradually stripped of a freedom that the housewife has never known. There is a shared irritation at the macho behaviour of men – the husband is especially controlling and stupid, while the other woman's lover is little more than a selfish boor.
Both scripts focus on the detail of oppression, but while the housewife achieves a happier ending – which involves a shooting spree – the pregnant mother is trapped in a cycle of alienation and forced to become self-reliant. The shift in mood and tone between the monologues, ultimately, makes the production an ambitious attempt to cover a broad range of feminist issues but their coupling enhances neither script.