REVIEW: A Girl In School Uniform (Walks into a Bar)
A Girl In School Uniform (Walks into a Bar)
Reviewed by Lara Franzi
Disasters can only be called coincidences so many times, before it’s just called neglect. ‘A Girl In School Uniform (Walks into a Bar)’, is set in the nearby future, but it’s more of a prediction of where we’ll be if we keep calling avoidable situations coincidences.
Where Steph and Bell live, there are blackouts and then girls go missing. They’ve both lost someone special to them in the blackouts, but there is nothing they can do to stop these young girls disappearing. They are defenceless and out of control in their world. This is a terrifying reality for some women in our modern-day world. As there are no street lights to even be blacked out. Anyone could go missing. Playwright Lulu Raczka brings a voice to these powerless women, giving them the unlikely space of a bar to share their concerns and to try combat the publics compliance towards the blackouts.
Actresses Caitlin Burley and Michelle Ny dance upon the stage, embedding the characters fears of standing alone in the dark for too long. They are grounded in their reality and plagued by worry. Phoebe Pilcher draws us into their world with her lighting design, which doesn’t exist for a good amount of the show. This deliberate choice of darkness, lets us hear their worry. With a flashlight flickering over their eyes we are almost watching over the girls, hoping that they will both be there when the lights go back on. By the end of the show Director Hannah Goodwin has torn away our tolerance for coincidences, making us realise that it’s our perspective which affects what kind of a world we think we live in.
There is hope to avoiding a future like theirs. It depends on the way we respond to danger, and to children disappearing. We can say whether it’s a coincidence, or whether it’s normal or not. We can shine a light on things that feel wrong within our lives and we can try to avoid a world where disappearing or being assaulting is just a coincidence.
A Girl In School Uniform is enriched by something deeper than just disappearances, it explores the ways incidents are ignored, or underestimated especially by authority figures. The White Ribbon Foundation recently shared some scary statistics about Australian women, finding that 85% of Aussie woman have been sexually harassed. While horribly, 1 in 6 women have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 15.
It sometimes feels almost impossible to escape from some form of sexual abuse within your lifetime. But this isn’t just women, men are also experiencing sexual abuse and are more likely to remain silent about it. This is a crisis that is affecting more and more Australian’s every day.
Because of these unfortunately common incidents, it is affecting the way we are treating each other. I don’t want there to be a divide between genders, but it is almost natural now to assume the next sexual assault against a woman will be caused by a man. This stereotype is being broadcasted to young males and affecting the way they behave towards women. To avoid more of these incidents, it’s important that we have strong non-for-profit organisations, our government, and emergency service’s support, so we know that they are taking our personal endangerment seriously.
A Girl In School Uniform (Walks into a Bar) captures a moment of paranoia, plagued by reality. I don’t want us to live in a world of fear, where we aren’t comfortable to dress anyway we like, or to express our love without worrying about someone taking advantage of us. I want to feel safe during our brief time on this earth. And to extend that safety to others.
A GIRL IN SCHOOL UNIFORM (WALKS INTO A BAR)
Kings Cross Theatre
20 Sept - 5 Oct 2019
Images by Indiana Kwong