Photo by Emily Cooper.
The three women in Shit are raw, unfiltered, and counter to the sanitized version of femininity continually fed to audiences in narratives of stage and screen. These women are strong. They’re flawed. They’re damaged. They’re able to tap into the darkest parts of humanity, the things from which we would rather turn away, the emotional, physical, and sexual abuses and imbalances of power that continue to fuel cycles of violence and keep marginalized women from realizing their potential.
The real shit.
Directed by Donna Spencer, the Firehall Arts Centre’s current artistic producer, and written by celebrated Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius, Shit offers a shattered window into the interpersonal relationships between three incarcerated women. The details of their crime, however, are secondary to their stories of lifelong imprisonment by situations beyond their control.
Shit, like its protagonists, is imperfect and unapologetic—and fantastically entertaining. It’s filled with strong acting and powerful moments from Yoshié Bancroft, Sharon Crandall, and Kayla Deorksen. It also has its challenges. While the exchange of words—and impressive volume of profanity—between actors is lyrical and carefully-orchestrated, their physicality periodically lacks the same finesse. Some audiences will find this fifty-minute theatrical gut punch, from voices more often ignored, too challenging and too dark for a night out. The rest will tell them to fuck off.
Shit runs until February 10 at the Firehall Arts Centre.
Natalie North has worked in journalism for a decade, both in British Columbia and South Korea. She has a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria. Much of her writing focusses on life and art on the west coast.