This is the Monday Line (on Wednesday)
by Denis G. Campbell
Last Saturday more than 3 million women and men joined marches in 600+ cities for women’s rights. Last night in Newport, South Wales, four women raised their voices in anger, passion and song in a new play/musical/readings by the acclaimed playwright Meltem Arikan. Enough is Enough is presented as a combination rock band gig and story-telling hour plus, the audience is constantly triggered by the deeply personal stories told and sung by each character.
Both the women in the marches and this cast were there to raise the very real potential of a backward step regarding the equality of women in the workplace and… life itself. They touched on the very deep pain felt but suppressed by words and actions in a patriarchal society that essentially ignores or treats women and girls as weak, sexual objects. There was nothing weak about this cast of very strong women.
Pinar Ogun, an accomplished veteran of screen, stage, BBC dramas, joined Musical Director Maddie Jones, Francesca Dimech and Emma Daman Thomas in a powerful evening of stories, songs and dark humour. It opened last night in the Barnabas Art House in Newport, beginning a 23-city tour of Wales sponsored by Arts Council Wales, The Welsh Government and The National Lottery. It was produced by BeAware productions who are artists in residence at Chapter Arts in Cardiff.
The basement cabaret stage was starkly lit by director Memet Ali Alibora with alternating silhouettes of green and red. Maddie Jones’ music was at times haunting, lyrical and at other times ragged and raw as these women’s stories unfolded. At first the sound mixing seemed harsh, but then you realised it was entirely fit for purpose… to jar and awaken the audience’s core fears and memories. The show ends on a hauntingly dissonant but beautiful song that surprises everyone when the lights come up and the cast take their bows.
Enough is Enough then has an optional, but very important ‘Shout it Out’ session to share and discuss impressions with the cast and playwright using the theme, ‘oh that doesn’t happen here, it happens in the East.’ As Ms. Arikan explained, that was a reference to the days when the show was presented without music as a series of women’s readings in Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland and Istanbul. The music completes these powerful stories. And tonight’s audience was under no such impression that this happens anywhere else but right here.
The show hits anyone who has ever been the target of abuse, regardless of gender, like a ton of bricks. Others, it awakened to the times they saw… but did not really see or could not act when this happened to friends, family or co-workers. Several audience members, including this writer were confronted with past incidents and filled with emotion.
I asked the cast during the Shout Out, why they chose not to end like most musicals on a hopeful uplifting note? As they explained the arc of their stories, Ms. Arikan was insistent that the show leave the audience unsettled and ready for action.
Enough is Enough tours Wales through February
26 Jan Theatr Clwyd , Mold, Wales
27 Jan Monty Club, Newtown, Wales
28 Jan Town Hall, Welshpool, Wales
30 Jan The Little Theatre, Rhyl, Wales
01 Feb Neuadd Ogwen, Bangor – Bethesda, Wales
03 Feb The Ucheldre, Anglesey – Holyhead, Wales
04 Feb Bar 46, Aberystwyth, Wales
05 Feb Magic Lantern, Tywyn, Wales
06 Feb The Guildhall – Great Hall, Cardigan Wales
08 Feb Victoria Hall , Lampater, Wales
09 Feb Taibach Rugby Club, Port Talbot, Wales
10 Feb The Arts Wing, Swansea, Wales
11 Feb The Queen’s Hall, Narberth, Wales
12 Feb The Parrot, Carmarthen, Wales
15 Feb Ebbw Vale Institute, The Valleys – Ebbw Vale, Wales
16 Feb Con Club, The Valleys – Aberdare, Wales
17 Feb Theatr Soar , The Valleys – Merthyr Tydfil , Wales
18 Feb Memo, The Valleys – New Bridge, Wales
19 Feb Clwb y Bont – The Valleys – Pontypridd, Wales
08 Apr Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Wales
Tickets and information: +44 (0) 2921961261