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stark bollock naked Assembly Roxy (Downstairs) Edinburgh

Nudity, yes, but there aren’t any balls in Stark Bollock Naked. Larisa Faber appears wearing nothing, and Eugénie Pastor proceeds to apply tape around Faber’s body, and it’s a few minutes before anyone says anything, to the point where I began to wonder whether anyone would. Louise Rhoades-Brown’s video design comes into its own, projecting a range of still and moving images onto Faber’s body, perfectly positioned.

Stark Bollock Naked. ©Jeannine Unsen.
Stark Bollock Naked. ©Jeannine Unsen.

In these supposedly more enlightened and liberal times, it might be reasonable to assume that women are free to birth a dozen children, none at all, or something in between. Faber’s point in this show is that pressures to bear children in the first place are still prevalent, even if this might not be the personal experience of some women in today’s world. It also poses an intriguing question: women make up half the world’s population, give or take, so they’re not exactly uncommon. So why is there an obsession with female bodies?

The tick-tocking of the biological clock is brought to light during a cervical screening (aka a smear test) – the gynaecologist wants to know if Faber wants children, and for some reason, asks if she is in a relationship. The use of various medical instruments as musical instruments is inspired and amusing, while the subject of abortion is given a rounded and nuanced treatment, the right to have the procedure performed being defended whilst also highlighting what it’s like to have it done.

A highly relevant piece of theatre, there’s a subtle encouragement (as opposed to a rallying cry) for women to stand their ground and not let others, whether friends and family or medical professionals, dictate what their bodies are for. A thoughtful and imaginative production.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

stark bollock naked is a two-hander with one naked performer, whose body is used as a projection space for video mapping. Our bodies are used as projection spaces by advertising, education, society, social media every day. Those constant projections influence how we shape our identities and how we feel about our bodies.

Writer / Director / Performer Larisa Faber
Performer Eugénie Pastor
Performer Shamira Turner
Video Design Louise Rhoades-Brown
Composer Catherine Kontz
Props / Costume Design Mélanie Planchard
Choreographer Hannah Ma
Notes Ages 18+, contains nudity and mentions of abortion and suicide.
Social Media #starkbollocknakedEdinburgh

Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9SU


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