I Have a Mouth and I Will Scream, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Ava Davies

The raging influence of Alice Birch’s revolt. she said. revolt again. runs through this performance art/theatre piece by Abi Zakarian. The six-strong ensemble of women (not all white, which is good, but it could always be less white) are trying to discuss feminism. Is that even the right word anymore? It’s become bogged down in pop culture references, in mass-produced t-shirts, in discussions about depicting vaginas in art. I HAVE A MOUTH… occasionally feels like it drifts into white feminist territory, as much as it tries to unpick and dissect that movement.

Of course, the whole point of the piece is that they can’t possibly cover everything about contemporary feminism in 60 minutes, and they should be commended for making a show that tries to hold white feminism to account – but then a choice has to be made. I can’t help but question the decision to focus on Judy Chicago’s art when fundamentally that seems so… not radical. The decision to hold white feminism to account is important and overdue until we realise that it’s again centering white women in a piece that is made up of a majority of white women.

Regardless, Rafaella Marcus directs with energy and passion, and the ensemble are tightly focused and tireless. I can appreciate the effort made by the company to address the fundamental difficulty of being a contemporary feminist, but I am left a little wanting.

I Have a Mouth and I will Scream runs through 18 February.

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