Joel Samuels & Madeline Gould
Anonymous Is A Woman
Vault Leake Street
There are rarely witnesses to a sexual assault. Instead, there are usually conflicting accounts of what took place and a judgement made by others about what is to be believed.
The imaginative thirty-minute show Greyscale lets the audience encounter this sequence by hearing separately the different views of what happened on a date from two people either side of our glimpse of part of that date.
Our group voted to hear first from the character James (Tom Campion) about his date with Lucy (Edie Newman). Other performances might focus on a same-sex male or female couple.
James is charming and clearly elated at having had a very good day that began with the purchase of a very special camera and went on to what he says was a successful Tinder date with Lucy, whom he describes as intelligent, good humoured and beautiful. Things went so well they went back to his flat and he even took a picture of her which he admits is a “bit cheesy.”
When a text from Lucy interrupts him, he looks genuinely puzzled and upset before excusing himself and leaving.
Our group next sees something of that date taking place in James’s flat which is located inside a large, four-sided hardboard box that has multiple letterbox-sized openings through which we can watch events unfold.
Lucy is initially relaxed, articulate and seemingly confident about the direction she wants to take things, which includes initiating a kiss. It gets slightly awkward when he suggests she take her top off for a picture, but the date seems to continue as we head for a noisy bar where we hear Lucy describe how badly she thinks the date went.
With tears in her eyes, she insists she didn’t want the sexual encounter though at times she blames herself for not saying no more clearly.
This powerful piece of theatre, given a fine performance by Edie Newman and Tom Campion, leaves open the question of whom we should believe. There are elements in both accounts that could support a different view, though I suspect most of us believed Lucy.
It emphasises how complicated questions of consent can be and how both men and women need to learn better how to interpret the way others feel. A woman should not have to wave a banner saying no thank you to be understood as not giving consent.