Trash, Theatre N16 – Review

“The world has been crumbling in on us for so long now and our ignorance has allowed it to happen. We’re better off in here.”

In 1985, acclaimed author Margaret Attwood published The Handmaid’s Tale – a dystopian novel set in the near future, where in the United States a regressive regime has annulled all women’s rights, leading to their bodies being politicised and controlled. In light of Donald Trump’s current administration, the televised version of The Handmaid’s Tale has struck a chord with the politically-astute as well as the ‘Nextfix Generation’. Which leads us to Trash

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Written by Daniella DiSilva and directed by Monty Leigh, Trash begins with three young women who wake up in a darkened room and find their memories wiped. Des (Mairi Houston) and Nike (Daniella DiSilva) are perturbed, but otherwise calm and collected. That is until, Trash (Danielle Radford) wakes up and starts flipping out. Trash’s tantrums are too much for Des, which results in them coming to blows – verbally and physically. Nike, however, has more of a recollection of the reasons for their predicament and why they’ve been placed together – they’re sisters. Only family can bring on such extremeties in emotions! They later meet a man who has knowledge of the sisters, but even with this ‘resource’ to hand, there is no automatic catharsis for what they’ve experienced or ready-made answers…

During the second Herstory festival last November (which also took place at Theatre N16) there was a short play performed called Big Belly by Jen Huszcza. Set in the near future, women who had sex and conceived outside marriage spent the duration of their pregnancy incarcarated – and when they’ve reached full term, their children taken away at birth. While the play was meant to be a piece of ‘speculative fiction’, at its core was a universal truth about the sway of patriarchal society on the bodies of women and their sexual identity. Certainly 150 years ago the mistreatment of women wouldn’t be ‘fiction’ but fact. Similarly, Trash is not so much a piece of ‘speculative fiction’, but an allegory for the values and double standards over the milennia that have kept women apart from their rightful place on the world and their weakened position when there isn’t empathy or solidarity.

© Michael Davis 2017

Trash ran at Theatre N16 on 11th-12th June 2017.

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