Women on the Verge is a production by the Bridge (Teatro Latino) Theatre Company currently playing at the Butterfly Club in Melbourne every night until the 15th of January. It, like Dario Fo and Franca Rame's 8 Monologues of Women it is based on, seeks to show the struggles that women face from the everyday sexism through to the horrific assault and abuse.
However, unlike the original, Women on the Verge has been updated to suit an Australian audience and the four dancers/actresses speak English with Latino accents. Other changes include reducing the amount of monologue to only four monologues, as well as adding tango music and cabaret style dance. And the monologues are broken up by the four actresses performing a mean spirited cabaret, which also serves as an example of the objectification that women experience sometimes on a daily basis.
These differences have a mixed impact on the play. The four monologues of working class women seem a little disconnected from each other, although all share commonalities: violence, contempt, and sexism. For example, one monologue concerns a woman housebound by her husband, the second is about a prostitute in an asylum, the third is a story of a rape while the last is a day in the life of a factory worker.
The monologues in the Women on the Verge, although hard to digest and confronting, are important to be told as they are the stories of many women across the world. Thus, the play can be recommended on the point it gives a voice to women who previously haven't had on alone.
It should be noted that this isn't a play for children or people who would become distressed at themes of sexual assault or violence as they are prominent within the play. Dark themes are a useful way of highlighting the horrendous levels of sexism that exist and have existed in our society, but it should be noted that this performance leaves nothing to the imagination. For those who are sensitive to violence, or who have experienced assault, this play may prove confronting.