Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.
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Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again: Theater review by David Cote
Brevity is power. Take British playwright Alice Birch’s angry flaying of the status quo, staged as a series of funny and horrifying vignettes. Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. comes in at 65 minutes, a perfect length. An hour and a half would seem conventional; two hours would grow unbearable. The linguistic and visual density that Birch and director Lileana Blain-Cruz achieve leaves you emotionally winded yet still engaged.
Things start out easy enough (Birch is adept at slowly turning up the flame): A gal (Molly Bernard) and a guy (Daniel Abeles) face each other, talking dirty. Titillation gives way to awkward laughs as she critiques his phallocentric and assaultive metaphors for sex. (Each section comes with a projected title/imperative, such as REVOLUTIONIZE THE LANGUAGE. INVERT IT.)
From there, we see an employee (Eboni Booth) demanding Mondays off for more sleep and a woman (Jennifer Ikeda) explaining why her boyfriend’s marriage proposal is offensive. But if you peg Revolt as a tidy, Caryl Churchill–esque feminist revue, wait and see how it takes arms against form itself.—David Cote
Soho Rep (Off Broadway). By Alice Birch. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. With Daniel Abeles, Molly Bernard, Eboni Booth and Jennifer Ikeda. Through May 15.
Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote