Whether it is on social media or television, the subject of the feminine condition is on everyone’s lips; be it the gender pay-gap or sexual harassment, women around the world are raising their voice in order to share the reality of being a woman in a world mostly controlled by men. Although, progress has been made, the observation remains the same: we need to do better. Through the use of puppetry, the theatre company Smoking Apples gives us an overview of the professional world and more specifically of the scientific sector. With this thoughtful play full of references and humour, Smoking Apples is sending a message to all girls and women: you have to speak up to get what you deserve.
The play takes place in the early 1980s and follows the journey of young scientist, Kate Hawthorn. Kate is a brilliant young woman, full of dreams, who only has one wish: to be recognised by her peers. However, everything she ever worked for is threatened once her male-colleague decides to take credit for her work. The plot might seem cliché but Flux is addressing an important issue which is still relevant today, as numerous women see the outcome of their work stolen by men in order to keep women out of the spotlight.
This play goes beyond the subject of intellectual appropriation alone. Through the use of the masculine character Charles Bagshot, Flux goes deeper in the analysis of woman’s daily life at work, as the play tackles the issue of sexual harassment. Furthermore, this play also addresses the themes of depression and lack of confidence, hardships that are so common in everyday life. It shows us how hard it can be both physically and mentally for women to feel confident and believe in themselves in a society which gives them almost no opportunity to rise and succeed.
The play is based entirely on puppetry and I believe this is what makes it so special. There is no dialogue, but rather emphasis is placed on the use of imagery. Instead, the audience has to understand the main character's emotions through her gestures and a voiceover that highlights her thoughts. I believe the decision of not letting any character speak until the very end is a really significant choice by the director. By doing this, Smoking Apples encourages us to face reality, by keeping our eyes open and paying attention to the subtexts. Flux forces us to see when something is wrong and consider how we should act accordingly.
Flux showcased at the Greenwich Theatre. More information about the production can be found here.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor