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My Silence Gives Consent at The Lion & Unicorn Theatre

A question for the men out there reading this. At the end of a night out, how many of you sign off with the words ‘text me when you get back home.’ Keep your hands raised if you only ever say this to the female members of your group. Obviously, I can’t see anyone at the moment but I’m sure there are quite a lot of either physical or mental hands raised right now. I know mine is, just as I know the hand is raised of the protagonist in Scott Weinstein’s monodrama My Silence Gives Consent which is on a short run at the Lion and Unicorn theatre.

My Silence Gives Consent
My Silence Gives Consent

It’s 23:59 and, after a night out, the lad in question has just seen his female friend onto a bus at the start of her homeward journey. His last words to her were the ubiquitous ‘text me when you get home’ and he is now waiting for that text to reassure him that all is well. As he waits, his mind wanders, and he questions his reasons for asking for a text. He also imagines his friend’s journey, alone, late at night in a world where men – even feminist men like himself – are the oppressors, ready to pounce on a young girl travelling alone. As the minute drags on, his questions become more frantic, doubting himself and the world he is not only part of, but in many ways complicit with.

My Silence Gives Consent is a very strong piece of writing that examines what it is to not only be a man but, more importantly, to be a man who is alive to the ideas of feminism and the dichotomies that brings. Is it wrong to want to support or protect a woman because you are a man, or is it right to be there to support in a world where misogyny is prevalent and even the police cannot be relied upon to protect people? If you don’t speak out and are just a bystander, are you part of the problem or are you merely protecting yourself? There are so many questions raised by My Silence Gives Consent, none of which have obvious answers, or if they do, they are often contradictory. This is very mature writing particularly when you consider that author Scott Weinstein is only seventeen years old. Talk about a wise old head on young shoulders. Even the title of the piece is fascinating, bringing back memories of Sir Thomas Moore’s trial in ‘A Man for All Seasons,’ again a concept that feels very mature and one that I don’t believe many people fully understand.

Weinstein’s performance is good, but I think he could have done with working with an external Director. There are times when the piece doesn’t flow in an expected way, and there are far too many jumps around for my liking, particularly in the quiz section. There is not really a set as such, merely a white chair, and a small table with a digital clock on it. Although I can’t really say why, I was really impressed with the clock, and full credit to Thomas Dimbylow – who also designed the sound and lighting – for getting it to do what it did. The only negative was that, while the music was really good, there were times – particularly at the start of the show – where the music was a little too loud and partially drowned out the words.

Overall, My Silence Gives Consent is a fine piece of writing which, to my mind, accurately reflects some of the thoughts that can go through a mind while waiting for that reassuring text. Weinstein brings us a young man, sure of who he is and wracked with guilt because of it. It was a fascinating insight into the mind of someone whose self-awareness is that of the young, where things are pretty much black and white and greys don’t exist, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3 Star Review

Review by Terry Eastham

“I told her to text me when she got home”

In the space of a minute, a man waits for a response to his text from a female friend after having parted company at the end of a night out. This monodrama gives way to fears, anxieties and introspection as he waits for her reply. His stream of consciousness comes to life as he imagines her dangerous journey through the night, whilst he waits safely at home, not harming, not helping, but wondering: how can you fix the problem when you are part of it?

How can you be a feminist? As a man. As the cause. Where do you even begin?

WRITTEN BY: Scott Weinstein
DIRECTED BY: Scott Weinstein
OTHER CREATIVES: Thomas Dimbylow (Set, Sound and Lighting Designer), India Rose (Costume Designer)

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