But But But is a work-in-progress by a collection of three LGBT+ women who span an array of identities and experiences. Through a collection of pieces from interpretive dance to a vulva baking competition, the play attempts to address the nuances of being an LGBT+ woman. It explores topics ranging from fetishism and stereotypes to interactions with the straight world.
Photo Credit: Pink Freud Theatre
The stories presented in this piece are incredibly powerful, in the same way that women who tell their stories are always powerful. However, I wish this performance explored the stories in more depth, rather than flitting from one difficult experience to another. The foretelling of "coming out" stories in this place, where one actor describes their colleague not realising they are bi-sexual, to another asking for threesomes, were all powerful stories, but there was a presence of sorrow and anger in these tales that was not properly explored. There was an opportunity for these women's stories to take up more space—space they are not given in the every day world. The audience were gripped throughout, but the performance did not take advantage of this. It did not slow down the pace or allow for the subtleties of the experiences to play out.
In some way the stories performed here seem to cater much more to a straight audience. They address anxieties of relationships with straight people, rather than exploring the experiences of LGBT+ people; the play seemed more interested in preaching to straight people about how they often do not understand the issues LGBT+ people face. Whilst including statistics about hate crime—which were peppered into the play—are important, they do not tell a mostly-LGBT+ audience anything that they do not already know.
Overall, this play was a push for straight audiences to understand the relationships that can exist between straight people and LGBT+ women and the difficulties of these relationships. In this respect the play was a success, however, I would like to see a portrayal of the difficulties facing LGBT+ women from their own perspective, rather than from the perspective of an outsider.
'But But But' was performed at Tristan Bates Theatre and created by the Pink Freud Theatre company, more information about them can be found here.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor