CAMILLA, CAT and JULES
Written & performed by Shelley Draper
Directed by Laura Jasper
Additional material and direction from Becky Matter
Voice of Melvyn: Michael Kenneth Stewart
Intro: In which Shelley chats about audience participation and feminism in theatre
Camilla: A meeting room at Westminster. It’s the inaugural meeting of the Independent Body of Parliamentary Employee Harassment Claims (IBOPEHC), of which Camilla is the head
Cat: Cat, an American florist, is in her flower Shop called ‘Pussy Willows Flowers’ in a suburb of Hollywood
Jules: A Dancersize class in Leeds. The leader, Jules, arrives late with some news – an argument ensues
2017 – The Weinstein scandal breaks, MeToo and Time’s Up movements born. Fallon resigns from government for “touching someones knee”. A new wave of feminism begins (is this one the fourth or the fifth? I’m losing count now) – It’s SO effective that the USA elects a pussy grabber for president.
2019 – The dust has settled, dried in the intense heat of 2018, been pissed on and turned into sludge. 3 very different women are wading through it.
3 monologues, born out of an actress responding in character whilst all the furore was ‘kicking off’. Stupid and poignant. It’s quite funny actually.
I always knew I had a one woman show burning up inside me and was working on poetry and comedy scripts… until October of 2017 when the Weinstein scandal broke. Shortly after, Fallon resigned from Government and we realised that parliament had it’s problems too. The surrounding media furore, voices and opinions, and my shouted response to all of that – most of the time assuming characters!, was the catalyst I needed to kick my arse into gear. So, I wrote my characters; Camilla, Cat and Jules, their own monologues.
As I explain in the intro, I felt I had a duty to add my voice and personal experience to the Me Too and Times Up movements, but didn’t want to ‘Rant’ or hit an audience over the head with a message. That approach more often than not has the detrimental, counterproductive effect of turning people away from a subject matter. However, neither did I want to trivialise the issues – a difficult tightrope to walk along.
Comedy is my attempt to create more accessible theatre whilst at the same time exploring both my own feelings and helping an audience to explore and examine theirs. I love theatre but feel that it can sometimes be so middle class and intellectualised that it can leave some audience members feeling bored, confused and alienated. I don’t think that’s helpful at this pivotal time in history and think that we should be grabbing with both hands this opportunity to create art that enables discussion for all, about the issues around relationships and equality.
The story so far:
The show has currently had 2 outings, one at the Leicester Comedy Festival on 11th February 2019 and as part of the Party Somewhere Else Festival at the Nottingham Playhouse on Saturday 18th May 2019
Audience Feedback Nottingham 18th May 2019:
Feedback from forms after 25th March 2018 scratch performance
1. How did the piece as a whole leave you feeling and why?
2. Which was your favourite monologue and why?
3. Could you identify specific themes connecting all four monologues? If so, what?
For more information, or just more discussion – please feel free to contact me by email: email@example.com or on Twitter @smelbyd
And here’s something to leave you with…
A sample of quotes from people in the public eye used during research & writing…
Jo Brand (on HIGNFY) “It doesn’t have to be high level for women to feel under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons and actually for women if you’re constantly being harassed, even in a small way, that builds up and that wears you down.”
Uma Thurman “I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you. Because I’ve learned I am not a child and I’ve learned that when I’ve spoken in anger I usually regret the way I express myself. So I’ve been waiting to feel less angry and when I’m ready I’ll say what I have to say.”
Michael Gove “Sometimes I think that coming into the studio with you John, is a bit like going into Harvey Weinsteins bedroom. Just pray that you emerge with your dignity intact”, Neil Kinnock “John goes way past groping, way past groping”
James Corden “Tonight is so beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage.” “I don’t know whether that groan was that you liked that joke? or you don’t like that joke? if you don’t like that joke you should probably leave now” (because I’m just gonna keep on doing it whether you like it or not) ! “It has been weird this week though hasn’t it, watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath – it’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight but he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest.
Kathryn Bigelow “If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons; I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies”
Anon “‘Rape Culture’ isn’t some millennia, man-hating buzz term. It simply describes how society’s acceptance of certain behaviours encourage a specific type of criminal activity”
Scott Rosenberg “Everybody-fucking-knew” (full article definitely worth reading)
Since October 2017
By March 2018, Parliaments’ ‘Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy’ had been set up. The three groups (with many diverse members) working to achieve this were:
Weinstein is currently facing criminal charges on five counts of sexual abuse, including rape, relating to two accusers – charges he denies. He also faces a number of civil cases, including one brought by the actress Ashley Judd, one of his earliest accusers. He formally pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Weinstein has admitted in the past that his behaviour has “caused a lot of pain”, but denies any non-consensual sex and has described many allegations against him as “patently false”
Source: BBC.co.uk/news, 10th Jan 2019