An Interview with Freak’s Director Christa Harris

Christa web

Take a look at what director Christa Harris had to say about her next show Freak – coming to the Space 8th – 12th August.

If could describe ‘Freak’ in three words what would they be?
Provocative, frank and relevant.

How is female sexuality portrayed in the play?
This is something that we have had a lot of discussion about in the rehearsal room. The way Georgie and Leah talk about sex and portray themselves is framed by male fantasy: shaven-haven, lingerie, school-girl, temptress the ‘She-God-Little-Girl-lioness’ that Georgie channels. Even in the liberation of talking about sex so frankly, these women are still choosing to become ‘what a man wants’. Their seemingly liberated decisions are still harnessed by the patriarchy, and in a ‘sexually liberated’ generation, the play makes us ask, how free are we?
There is curiosity, naivety, exploitation, destruction and a scrupulous look at self-image. And there is also clarity, learning how to understand yourself, choosing sex for you and embracing your own sexy.

When does the human mind change its thoughts on sex?
I think this all depends on the individual. Sex isn’t something we switch on when we get to a certain age, but it can be thrust upon us prematurely.
I think generally speaking, one may develop a physical and emotional foundation for sexuality from an early age, but it’s usually curiosity that drives someone to act upon these impulses. It really is down to the individual: their experiences, their surrounds and their upbringing.

Why choose now to perform this work?
Simply put, I think it’s subject matter is important. We live in a world where the amount of ‘likes’ we receive on a post on social media is linked to our self-worth, photo editing apps are downloaded to make one ‘tanned’ ‘slimmer’ appear to have ‘whiter teeth’ or more eyelashes and particular newspapers print articles about women’s cellulite. In 2013/4 it was reported by ChildLine that there was a 15% increase in eating disorders in young people – why? We are being told from a young age to look a certain way, act a certain way and now it just so happens that the US elected a man who said ‘you can do anything’ to a woman ‘grab them by the pussy’ is acting as a role model to the next young generation.
These are all issues, that as a company we want to tackle. Therefore, staging a play about how women are sexualised felt necessary. The stage is a platform for expression and as a female-led company, we wanted our first production to investigate something complex and real. This feels like the tip of a very big iceberg, but we’ll continue to make theatre of this vein and hope to make a difference.

On a scale from 1-10, how freaky does this play get?
In terms of the dreams Georgie has, I would say it gets pretty freaky. Perhaps a 7/10. There’s always room for more freak!

What feeling would like to leave the audience with when the lights go down?
I want men and women to feel empowered, liberated and comforted by the plays’ relatability. We still treat female sexuality as a taboo, and guarded subject – it shouldn’t be that way! This play makes the topic accessible, and it allows us to explore what decisions are truly ours.


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