La Merda, everything theatre

“After reading the press release and previous star ratings for La Merda, I was very much looking forward to an edgy, raw and arty performance with a strong message that would stay with me for several days…My experience, however, was quite the opposite.

“…dim spotlights illuminated a naked woman (Silvia Gallerano) sitting on a tall platform, quietly singing something Italian into a microphone…she launched into a monologue. It began by telling us we all needed courage, then connected the idea to her father’s courage to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a train…

“Gallerano’s character then moved onto body image: her unusually large thighs, and her teenage experience with a “beauty parlour” that had tried to reduce them. Whilst I believe body image is an issue that needs to be addressed, every teenager has insecurities about their looks, and theatre has dealt with this before, so the topic is not new, or particularly edgy…

“Gallerano’s character…didn’t develop into anything particularly interesting, or personalised. We never learned much about her other than she was an actress, her dad died when she was thirteen, and she had a slightly unconventional upbringing. I struggled to care about the woman and her issues because her issues weren’t unique. She was just like everyone else…Originally written in Italian for Italian audiences, there was a slight undercurrent of national identity, but unfortunately I missed more of this because I am not Italian…I wondered…why was she still naked?

“The piece was delivered exclusively in three long monologues…Towards the end of each section, she shouted down the microphone, which was physically uncomfortable, but I remained emotionally unmoved. Vague themes were mentioned…but my questions remained: Why was I watching this? What does the writer want us to take away? Why is she naked?”

Read the entire review here.