By the time I walked out of Wah Wah Wah by Celia Jade Green – playing at The Theatre Centre as part of the 2019 SummerWorks Festival – I felt relieved to no longer be an attractive 20-something woman.
This piece focuses on the more common-place, less dramatic dimension of the #metoo movement. It addresses the almost routine discomfort that virtually all women have faced: an inappropriate remark yelled from a passing car, the overly friendly professor, the leering gaze that makes you feel the need for several showers, the random guy following you for several blocks,
Using a mix of movement and storytelling, Celia Jade Green exposes a pattern in these incidents. Most women have felt what the anecdotes have in common: disempowerment, shame, silence.
The choreography is frenetic and jagged, embodying the anxiety and confusion of these moments. Movement interwove seamlessly with storytelling that feels authentic and visceral. Green had no difficulty maintaining the audience’s attention and did a fine job of owning the small, black-box theatre space. The only set pieced was a plain wooden dining chair, which was often used in a manner much more akin to a gymnasts vault than a chair. Green demonstrated carefree control of her lithe physique, and a strong grasp of physical comedy and drama.
She also delivered some fairly precise footwork in light of her converse sneakers, topped with relaxed fit jeans and a simple white tank top.
The show’s monologues are well-conceived and engaging, consciously holding space with the fact that we are not hearing sensationalism of Gomeshi proportions. Instead of news-cycle worthy titillation, the focus is on experiences that we are encouraged to sweep under the rug.
When we experience harassment, it is easy to feel like our discomfort stems from our imagination. As the familiar pattern in the anecdotes emerges, it becomes all too clear that this is really happening and it is really unfair and inappropriate. By satirically mocking and questioning our right to wail over these amorphous, grey-area incidents, a space is created where we can all mourn the collective experience of objectification and dehumanization.
Green also acknowledges that she’s not quite sure how to wrap this piece up. It is a work in progress, and the ending felt more didactic than the piece needed. The message already seemed crystal clear, and an ending that preserved the anecdotal character of the rest of the piece would feel stronger.
On the whole, this is an excellent one-woman show by an emerging performer. Celia Jade Green clearly has the critical analysis and the performative talent to engage and inspire audiences. I look forward to hearing what else she has to say.
- Thursday August 8th7:45pm – 8:45pm
- Saturday August 10th4:00pm – 5:00pm
- Sunday August 11th3:15pm – 4:15pm
- Saturday August 17th5:15pm – 6:15pm
- Sunday August 18th3:30pm – 4:30pm