The Substation’s resident theatre company, The Rabble, is back with its trademark feminist spin on an old tale. This time the group is tackling Cain and Abel. The twist? Two sisters are the protagonists of this Genesis story about the first act of murder.
“Our premise is that [if] this violence is associated with women, as opposed to with men, then the world is perhaps a radically different place,” says Emma Valente, co-creator and director of the play.
“Stories like Cain and Abel have created this mythology, or what I consider to be a mythology, about men being naturally violent.
“[We should] question whether violence is a natural prerogative for humans at all.”
The two-hander, which was originally performed at Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney in 2014, is a visually shocking and bloody reimagining. The violence is recreated over and over again: a drowning, a duel, a beheading, a beating and so on.
Valente says it’s a reflection of current expressions of feminism.
“Beyoncé and Rihanna have really reclaimed violence as a powerful tool and a way of expressing their feminism. Bitch Better Have My Money the music video was a pretty amazing, but very graphic, story where [Rihanna] is committing violence against a male and a female.
“Some feminists are really attracted to that, and some are kind of repelled by it or have questions about perpetuating violence against women.”
Valente wants us to question what we’re seeing. “Is this a world we even want to imagine? Is this something that we want to see?” But she says she doesn’t have any answers. She believes it’s about recognising where our culture has taken us.
“Is it empowering or is it alienating and disenfranchising? What’s powerful for someone might not be for another person.”
Cain and Abel is showing from July 20–30 at The Substation 1 Market Street, Newport.
Tickets are $35. Concession $25 and Rabble Lovers (support the artists) $50. On Friday July 22 there will be door sales only, pay what you can.
Age restriction of 16-plus apply. There will be frontal nudity, strobe lighting, onstage smoke effects, loud music, stage violence, and blood. The violent content of the show may be stressful for some viewers.