A cast of eight young and beautiful women adorned with bright red lipstick and black clothing could be rather intimidating. Are they going to give exactly what the title suggests – everyday bitching in female circles? This production isn’t a string of your typical cat fight scenes, but rather an examination of the unnecessary occurrences that women of South Africa often experience, ranging from the lack of implementation of women’s rights to the catcalls heard when simply walking down the street.
This new and original play developed by directors Gabriella Pinto and Jacqui Singer is only 45 minutes long but its punchy and often amusing scenes are not intended to tell a story but rather to weave together the personal anecdotes of the actresses, with the common theme of what it’s like to be a woman living in South Africa. With input from the cast (Iman Isaacs, Amy Jephta, Lesoko Seabe, Kelly-Eve Koopman, Daniyella Rodin, Mikkie-dean Le Roux, Loren Loubser and Trudy van Rooy) who between them boast experience as playwrights, writers and theatre-makers, the production engages from beginning to end. Iman Isaacs in particular gives a stand-out performance with a remarkable, even gravitational presence.
The play is reminiscient of Reclaiming the P-word by Mary Hames – an annual production at UWC – though more light hearted. The (B)Itching Hour highlights such issues such as the unwritten rule many women have of not getting into a taxi with only men. And Lesoko Seabe’s satirical speech of “South Africa’s Constitution is the best yet”, brings to light the frightening statistics of the rape of girls and women. The finale – a more serious, poetic piece called ‘What kind of place is this?’, performed by the entire cast, is also a highlight.
Many may argue that this play is for the feminist, but this is not so. It gives an unbiased view on relative issues, while some of the issues on trial are depressing, there are also some cheerful moments and some laugh-out-loud scenes. This show is not only for women to nod their heads to in agreement, but should also serve to answer men’s questions about the everyday hardships faced by women. This is food for thought in a very entertaining form. If a man ever asks what problems woman face, I’ll simply reply, “The (B)Itching Hour- go and see it.”
The (B)itching Hour runs at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective until 31 August 2013.