Review: It’s True, It’s True, It’s True
And I thought Rape kits were bad…
It’s True, It’s True, It’s True women have to go through a lot now days to prove they were raped. Rape kits are used to test every inch of their body for DNA evidence and they are once again stripped of their dignity and pictures are taken of every abrasion, bruise and mark. When it comes to rape the victim’s body is the crime scene and the victim’s mind is the injured partner.
It’s hard to imagine that it could get any worse. After enduring all the pocking and prodding, question after question is asked. Proving that consent was not given is difficult and it is where most cases fall apart. Once again it’s hard to believe it could get any worse. Right?
Wrong! (Spoiler alert) Breach Theatre prove in It’s True, It’s True, It’s True (and I can’t believe I’m about to say this) how far we’ve come since the 1600: At least we don’t torture the victims with thumb screws to verify their testimony.
In this harrowing, roller coaster of a performance Breach Theatre superbly guide their audience through the rape trail of Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque painter who was raped by her art tutor Agostino Tassi when she was just 15 years old.
The portrayal of Tassi is fantastic to say the least. Never have I witness such wonderful character work and writing. The artistic licence shown to the original (translated) accounts of his slut shaming, lying and victim blaming are beautiful to watch. He is at once an obvious snake, prone to violent outbursts and then suddenly once again charming and likeable. His power over the stage and auditorium made it all to easy to imagine the power he and men like him had/have in the real world.
However, through their resilient, intelligent and level-headed portrayal of Artemisia, Breach theatre showed the strength of the victim. The strength that can be found in telling the truth. In having their wounds seen and their testimonies heard. The company created tableaus of Artemisia’s art work, including Susanna and the elders and Judith slaying Holofernes. Revealing that their are heroines to be found in the past and intelligently probe the skill of Artemisias’ artwork and her unique view point as a female artist at that time.
Breach theatre tell of her life beyond the rape and trial. They tell of her eventual success as a painter for the House of Medici and Charles I of England. How she befriended the great painters of the time and how she married, had children and live a normal, complicated and full life. It’s enough to give us hope.
Breach Theatre’s thoughtful use of song, tableaus, nudity and gold paint; culminate to create a rich performance that continually escalates in tension and energy. For a piece made before the era of #Metoo, no other performance that I have seen has fitted the movement so well and more importantly, expanded the parameters of the conversation so sensationally.
This is a must see. Warning! You’ll be left crying impassioned tear by the end.