With a successful start to their 10/11 season, the Lyceum are preparing to host a co-production with Stellar Quines, Scotland’s leading company for women’s theatre, before touring Scotland. Linda Griffiths’ Age of Arousal was written about one of the greatest periods of change for women in Western culture. Inspired by George Gissing’s Victorian novel, The Odd Women, Griffiths’ play follows two female lovers seeking liberation for themselves and others by enrolling students and teaching them to use the typewriter. When three spinster sisters join them, emancipation is sought in alcoholism and sexual revolution.
Expect bold and brave theatre from artistic director Muriel Romanes. Griffiths has cited the play as “a fantasia – where everyone is on the brink of tumultuous change, sexual and lubricious, explosive and contradictory.” Where many regular Lyceum theatregoers will find it innovative, others may deem it too brazen. Nevertheless, while future funding is uncertain, collaborations such as this will be important in development of theatre and art. Women’s liberation is not an unfamiliar theme on Scottish stages and refreshing them can be challenging. Age of Arousal is less about the repression of the female characters, and more about the conditions and circumstances which lead them to revolution. Liberation from what we know and what we are taught to expect – socially, sexually and theatrically – will be the triumph of this collaboration.