Sunday, 21 August 2016

5 Out of 10 Men

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5 Out of 10 Men
Written by Roland Reynolds
theSpace at Niddry Street, Edinburgh Fringe

“Women and men must deal with: human issues, female issues and male issues – not in that order, not in any order, but equally.”

“I never knew men killed themselves” that line alone speaks a thousand minds, it represents the very first stumbling block men face and is essentially the central point to the play. 5 Out of 10 Men fearlessly explores what it’s like to be a struggling man within the overpowering culture of masculinity, whatever that may be. Men don’t talk about their feelings. Men are strong. Men don’t cry. Men hold it together. Men also contribute to the majority of completed suicides. Men need to start talking, but how?

I’m not going to lie at times I really hated Mike at times, or should I say I hated the things he did but the true artistry of Reynolds’ writing made me truly feel for him. I feel so strongly about violence against women in any shape or form yet there I was feeling truly empathic towards such a misogynist. That right there is evidence of an incredible play write. Mike’s back story is so intricately woven into his present struggles it’s impossible to not feel a cocktail of emotions, enraged to empathic, disgusted to saddened, horrified to genuinely wanting to put my hand out to him and in the end doing just that. Inviting members of the audience onto the stage for the final moments of the piece felt like the only end there could have been and the goosebumps covering my body was proof of that.

The words “I don’t hate women but I sure as hell hated the women around me when I was 10” are some of the truest I’ve heard in a while and they most definitely translate into the opposite gender. We actively construct our futures as a direct consequence of the past. We form these core beliefs which at times can be completely nonsensical, in a simplified version: my Mam was a bitch she treated me in a way no one should be treated and forced me into her expectations therefore women are bitches and I’m gonna make sure they know it because I couldn’t before. In this Reynolds makes such a specific life experience globally relatable, I challenge you to find someone who couldn’t relate on some level.

I could probably write thousands of words on 5 Out of 10 Men, using up all of the positive adjectives in the language before moving on to French so I’ll wrap it up. Reynolds’ brave, fierce and at times crude approach to the barriers societies view of masculinity has on men being able to access support was admirable. I urge all to see or read in an effort to truly understand.

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HOPELineUK is a confidential support and advice service for:

Young people under the age of 35 who may be having thoughts of suicideAnyone concerned a young person may be having thoughts of suicide. 

A HOPELineUK advisor will hear about the things that are happening in your life that are contributing to your thoughts of suicide and provide advice about how you can cope with your thoughts of suicide, or where you can access help. You can also speak to our HOPELineUK advisors to get advice about how to start a conversation about suicide with someone you are concerned about, and how to best support them.

Call: 0800 068 41 41

Text: 07786209697

Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org

Opening hours are 10am-10pm weekdays, 2pm-10pm weekends, and 2pm-5pm Bank Holidays. 

Lemons Lemons Lemons Leomons FRINGE REVIEW

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Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons
By Sam Stenier
At Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Quirky and cute at times, Lemons explores our use of language more specifically the function of it and the impact limiting this would have on our world.

As play structures go, Lemons is enviably genius to say the least. I started off thinking “eh, am I supposed to get this, what did I miss”. Until about half way through at which point it shifted to “man I would never have thought of that”. Everything falls so perfectly into place in this language jigsaw. It brought us full circle in a way I’ve not seen before, it was bizarrely satisfying.

Lemons made me the woman watching a show by herself who laughs out loud, thankfully Obwas in good company with the whole theatre in giggles. Lemons is a perfect balance of hilarious and serious, if there is such a thing.

Lemons fits perfectly into a world where face to face communication is constantly reducing, that is unless you count the one line splatter across your face on Snapchat which you then ping around to your friends. Do we cease the opportunities to tell people what we’re really thinking – be that good or bad. Lemons made me think if things were to change tomorrow would I be happy with what I’d said to date when freedom existed, who knows? Lemons takes a serious matter and mixes in the perfect amount of humour!, such as with our constant “we’ll talk about it later” saga. When is later, what if there is no later? Would we be like Oliver and Bernadette, starting off on the good “I love you” foot but rapidly spiralling down the here are the bits I don’t like and could you please stop doing X in bed...”I want to feel sexy and powerful and like we could be in Basic Instinct or Brokeback Mountain...”. Either way it made for hilarious viewing.

Steiner puts an interesting spin on the matter of who needs more words. It dawned on me that I’d never really thought about things in this way before and I’m not sure why. This was perfectly summed up when Oliver goes into full blown rant for the working class needing more words: “the powerful stay powerful because nobody’s got enough words to challenge then, nepotism multiplies exponentially and becomes basically the only way of getting jobs because well, who’s got enough words for interviews?”

All in all Lemons truly fascinated me, it challenged my perception of language use in a hilarious way I didn’t think possible.