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

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