- Gareth K Vile
- 22 August 2017
Male oppression comes as no suprise
Heather Litteer's autobiographical monologue flickers between a personal history of misogyny in the USA's film industry and a difficult relationship with her mother. Brought up in the south – with both Presbyterian values and Tennessee Williams' plays never far away – Litteer escapes to become an actor, only to find herself cast as whores, hustlers and addicts and, for a brief time, becoming an addict herself.
The two themes – maternal smothering and Hollywood misogyny – never quite come together: her mother's desire to see Litteer married and respectable seems to be a different pressure than the exploitative practices of the movie industry. The rawest moment comes when Litteer talks about her experience as the performer in that sex scene in Requiem for a Dream: suddenly, her smooth, southern coolness drops and her frustration with the director – and the consequences of the scene – is palpable.
This revealing moment shows Litteer's writing at its sharpest, unafraid to attack uncomfortable emotions. Elsewhere, it's more show business as usual, with a variety of personas that she easily jumps between. Her finale dance routine – she is naked and swirling around a large red cape – is a cool moment to express her own resilience, but doesn't quite match the terse and fragmented tone of the monologue. She captures the sense of oppression and her own resistance, without finding a comfortable solution to their continued power.
Assembly Rooms, until 27 Aug, 4.40pm, £10–£12.