What basic and inalienable rights do we accept as ours, especially rights in our own home? First and foremost, we believe in the right to live without fear, control and abuse, which does not seem like a lot to ask. Steve Rodgers wrote King of Pigs as a response to the epidemic of domestic violence that seems in danger of a perpetually moving (and worsening) tipping point. The incidence of domestic abuse is not abating, while women’s services are chronically underfunded.
In King of Pigs the one woman on stage represents four different women in varying circumstances, with one common denominator: a man who succumbs to some level of control and or violence to dominate. The levels of control and violence may vary but each instance seems to stem from the same precarious and predictable place, the fragile and insecure part of the male ego that flails when it is not in absolute control, or simply just the male assumption that the subjugation of woman is the norm.
Rodgers acknowledges that the incident of violence against women knows no bounds: neither race, age or socioeconomic circumstances are indicators or predictors of the male abuse of power. The stories within King of Pigs represent a slice of life where violence bubbles away for some time beneath the surface before bursting forth and providing a depressingly common story that takes over, where men behaving badly predominates.
Blazey Best directs the action with an eye for detail that delineates the stories well, with sharp acting from all. Ella Scott-Lynch as the woman in each story is a marvel, she is in most scenes and possesses a tenacious energy that is impressive, imbuing each female character with the requisite warmth and passion that are precursors to the concern and fear that ultimately follow. Beautiful interplay between Scott-Lynch and her young co-star Wylie Best leaves the play with a shred of hope for us in the end, in spite of the shortcomings of the male characters.
The problem with the play’s message is that the choice of venue for this concern is all wrong. When you bring a message whose purpose is to enlighten people of the ‘deeply ingrained misogyny’ of our society to an audience of predominantly educated and middle class, you are preaching to the (mostly) converted. This play has an urgent and profound message, but it needs to reach a broader audience to have a real impact on reducing the violence against women that occurs every single day. This message needs to make it outside of the goats cheese capital of Sydney’s east to really make a difference. Take it to Penrith, take it to the prisons, take it to Parliament House, this play should be seen and heard, and not just by a select few.
On until the 1 September, for more information and tickets see: https://www.redlineproductions.com.au/
Featuring: Mick Bani, Wylie Best, Thom Blake Christian Byers, Kire Tosevski, Ashley Hawkes and Ella Scott-Lynch.
Creative/Tech Team: Steve Rodgers (writer), Blazey Best (director), Verity Hampson (lighting design), Isabel Hudson (set and costume design), Iota (composition), Emma Maloney (stage management) and Tegan Nicholls (sound design).