The Curse – a play by Jane Bradley
The Curse is a play about the blood and guts of being a girl*. It’s about that time of the month makes you a monster…
The Curse is a fab feminist play by Jane Bradley that celebrates teen friendship, doesn’t leave anyone out in the cold when it comes to sexuality and really understands the frustrations of being a girl. Teen best friends Char and Lola are looking forward to a wild summer now that school’s out, even though a curfew’s been locked in place as a wave of death sweeps the town. Nothing can stop Char and Lola in their plans for bonfire parties in the woods and summertime shagging… in other words, the sweet freedom to be yourself.
The play opens with a well-considered soundtrack (The Cramps, anyone?) swiftly followed by an oh-my-nailed-it physical comedy turn from wild child Char (played by Amy Dee) as she accepts advice from her teacher with excellently bad grace. It’s a strong opening that sets the tone, locks important themes in place and gets the audience laughing from the get-go.
Char (played by Amy Dee)
An angry play that makes you laugh? Make no bones about it – The Curse addresses important issues like slutshaming, cat-calling, sexual freedom and mental health. It’s also incredibly warm-natured in its handling of the intricacies of teen years and female friendship, with Jane Bradley’s brilliant wit evident in every line. If you are or ever were a teen, it’ll all come flooding back.
Char (with a strong turn from Amy Dee) and Lola (played with note-perfect nuance by Sophie Dervan) contrast and complement each other well as friends, and their dialogue and physical intimacy is a joy to see. Char doesn’t want to consider the future, but knows how to have a good time in the now. Lola’s up for any fun times Char can dream up, and as a loyal friend she’ll always have Char’s back if slutshaming rumours start, but she feels more invested in her future. For Lola, summer is a holiday. For Char, summer needs to last forever. Neither of them want to limit their ambitions, hearts and bodies – and a curfew might be there for the most monstrous of reasons but it’s a symbol of the social limitations placed on these young women, too.
Be sure to stick around after the play for a discussion panel with a thought-provoking line-up of experts and activists in fields as diverse as building awareness around menstruation and the academic study of monsters. I was lucky enough to catch The Curse at Manchester’s 3 Minute Theatre, though it’ll no doubt play in many more indie theatres across the UK. I do recommend the 3 Minute Theatre if you swing by that way, though. It has such a friendly atmosphere, local art on the walls and the cutest axolotl ever!
Visit the TheCursePlay.com to stay abreast of future tour dates and find out more.
*Although The Curse is a play about two women who menstruate, it recognises that not all women menstruate and not all people who menstruate are women.
The axolotl at the 3 Minute Theatre says hi x