It’s been said that well-behaved women seldom make history.
But there’s little worry of that in Frank Theatre’s 29th season opener, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.
As director Wendy Knox pointed out before the show, the stage directions for this show say, explicitly, “Most importantly, this play should not be well-behaved.”
Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. examines how women have been—and still are—confined and controlled by language and societal norms.
The show runs in a series of six scenes, each of which involves a different combination of actors and events. The vignettes are varied. In one, a woman responds to her male partner’s desire “make love to” her with her counter offer: “make love with.” In another, a marriage proposal goes (amusingly) awry thanks to clashing perceptions. Another delves into sexuality, while yet another questions the role of motherhood. Even without a traditional linear storyline, the emotion of the show peaks when—in a crescendo of action and fury—the entire cast comes together in a kind of montage.
So, no, the women (and men, for that matter) in this play are not well-behaved.
Revolt’s strength is in illuminating the micro aggressions, double standards, and assumptions of womanhood. The show challenges a lifetime of ingrained patriarchy by inverting and holding up the taken for granted situations women must contend with.
The show’s weakness goes hand in hand with its strength. Revolt pushes boundaries; however, in a few instances it goes so far that it seems to lose its message. The most memorable instance of this is a dinner table scene in which knives and forks are used for more than just eating. Moments like these are heavier on shock value than on illuminating new perspectives and can easily leave a general audience member wondering what just happened.
This is where the “well behaved” directive is especially important. Because even if it seems shocking and over the top—audiences are forced to examine why that is so. When societal norms have presumed what people will do and think, of course it can be unsettling. It can be freeing, too. It’s the type of performance you’ll want to take in and then tease apart later.
Others have, aptly, christened Revolt a “feminist call to arms.” At all times, Revolt is thought provoking, uninhibited, and unashamed. Sometimes it’s laugh out loud funny. And, sometimes, it’s confusing as well. Even if this show isn’t 100% cut and dried, it’s doubtful it should be that way. When is comes to revolution, there may not be an easy way to act, there may be no right way to act, but one thing this show makes clear is that thoughts are not enough. Action must follow.
-Recommended 16 and up
-Post show panel discussions October 1, 8, & 15
Book Your Tickets:
Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. by Frank Theatre
September 29 – October 22
Thursdays – Saturdays @ 8 p.m.
Sundays @ 2 p.m.
Tickets: $25 general admission; $22 for students and seniors
Run Time: about 70 minutes, no intermission
550 Vandalia Street
Saint Paul, MN 55114
*next to Lake Monster Brewing
Photo credit: Tony Nelson