Online it is easy to be overcome with timidness when trying to discuss #MeToo, fears of making a faux pas amidst all the nuances halting you from engaging in the debate. Onstage, in her newest solo performance This Script (And Other Drafts), Jenny Lindsay rejects this in-fighting that can dominate social media and instead plunges into each issue she tackles with forthright candour. If she is nervous about a backlash it does not show, as she unapologetically shares her opinions on contemporary feminism and misogyny.
This Script offers no resolutions to the schisms in our society, and to be fair it never claims to be trying to. Lindsay instead offers her personal experiences to demonstrate how she has arrived at her own political position. This is one woman’s take on the issues that face us today, even if she is part of a much larger conversation – not unlike what the #MeToo movement was supposed to be, before it was seized upon by its critics as a didactic hashtag.
The refrain “this script” is a powerful metaphor throughout, implying that our gendered behaviour is rehearsed and that we can also scrap it and start again. Lindsay picks the trope up and turns it over to draw multiple meanings throughout the show, letting her separate poems speak to each other and artfully pulling the whole piece together. It is a testament to Lindsay’s skill that one sound, the phoneme “i”, can develop so much in one hour. At first it sounds limiting, a short staccato sound that keeps woman in her place, but over time transforms into an obstinate spit back.
It is not just Lindsay’s poetry that makes this show a triumph. Her words are illuminated by the details sewn around them – dropping her book onto the floor at the climax of “The Imagined We”, plunging the stage into darkness to let words projected onto the stage sink in for a moment, and contorting her body into comically forced “sexy” poses. Lindsay is famously a master of bringing words to life on a stage, and that talent is in full force tonight.
Lindsay emphasises that This Script is still a work-in-progress. As is to be expected, it is a little rough around the edges, although this does also add to the personable edge in her warm delivery. The piece is beautifully put together, affecting long after it finishes, and receives a much-deserved standing ovation on its first night. With future dates and development promised, This Script has the potential to become one of this year’s most necessary spoken word performances.