“Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again” is a British play written by Alice Birch in 2016. The University of Connecticut’s production is directed by Eddie Vitcavage, a seventh-semester student in the drama program. Vitcavage described the play as “a reclamation.”
“This play is for women to reclaim all of the injustices that have been done against them for so long,” Vitcavage said.
The show is structured into vignettes, all unconnected by story but related in theme. The characters are mostly unnamed, written to illustrate a specific point instead of representing a fully-rounded individual. Each vignette is structured around a different feminist issue, including male domination in sexual relations, the sexualization of women and women contributing to the oppression of their fellow women.
Often, the play can become fairly confusing or even incomprehensible, but Vitcavage assured this is the intended effect.
“You’re supposed to be so confused about what is happening throughout this play because a lot of the things we are exposing with this piece are things that are not talked about,” Vitcavage said. “These are things where we are completely flipping the script.”
The show has a cast of six: April Lichtman, Betty Smith, Eilis Garcia, Megan O’Connor, Sebastian Nagpal and Willow Giannotti-Garlinghouse. While they had very little character to work with and the dialogue was often stagey and unrealistic, they all did a fantastic job delivering raw emotional power. They express humor, fury, rebellious strength and deep depression with stunning believability. These are all strong actresses who have consistently given excellent performances, and their performances here are no exception.
Maybe it is because of the minimalism of the set, but I really appreciated the lighting and sound design of this show. The lighting was especially good in the third act, enhancing the overwhelming atmosphere.
Unlike most of the other shows I have reviewed, “Revolt” does not have a very broad audience appeal. This is not intended as a crowd pleaser, very much the opposite of CRT’s ongoing “Shakespeare in Love.” The point of the show is less to entertain than to provoke. The show is meant to shock you, upset you and make you seriously consider the issues that were brought up.
Reflecting on my own experience viewing the show, it wasn’t necessarily a show that I found myself enjoying as I watched it. I appreciated many of the elements in the moment but the writing and messages often confused and eluded me, moreso in the latter parts of the show. Afterwards, as I thought about what to write, I realized that the show had achieved its goal very well. I was still thinking about the issues discussed and trying to put myself in different perspectives to consider all angles.
If you want to be challenged and made to think, watch this show. You may not agree with everything said and you may be put off by its unconventional presentation, but you will definitely put your mind to work and reflect deeply on your own role in these problems facing women, regardless of your age or gender.
One last comment I will make is that, despite their smaller size and more humble appearance, the shows that I have seen at the Studio Theatre have been the most challenging and unique that I have viewed here at UConn. “Revolt,” “The Wolves” and “If We Were Birds” have all been thought-provoking shows focused on issues of womanhood and the empowerment of women in the face of repression. This is an important theme which deserves to reach a broad audience. I hope that, in the future, these sorts of shows will be advertised to a greater degree and given a place in a larger venue. While they may not be as safe, they show off the power of what theatre can do and what audiences should be exposed to.
“Revolt” will be in the Studio Theatre on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.. Admission is free.
Evan Burns is campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.