Originally created for the 2016 Saskatoon Fringe Festival, SCUM: A Manifesto by Scantily Glad Theatre has made it all the way to Montreal as part of their Canada-wide Fringe circuit, presenting an entertaining and witty, yet exceedingly morbid depiction of radical feminism.
In SCUM, creators S.E. Grummett and Caitlin Zacharias grace the stage, portraying various roles, including two college roommates who have recently discovered the evils of men and are on a quest for women’s justice, as well as Andy Warhol and Valerie Solanos. The two actresses display excellent stage presence and a dynamic presence that fills the room, compensating for the sparseness of the set. The production was truly created in the spirit of the Fringe, as they demonstrate how so much can be conveyed without relying on props, elaborate costumes or sets.
The play begins with the two female roommates as they embark on their own personal discovery of feminism and what it means in relation to their lives. The two delve into some contentious territory and bring up important issues, as they contemplate whether they are bad feminists, and attempt a foray into the realm of lesbianism in order to demonstrate their dedication to the cause. Their actions become increasingly radical, from swearing off men, or as they call it, dick fasting, and giving up shaving, to the use of violent tactics to achieve their feminist agenda.
Simultaneously, the two take on the roles of Andy Warhol and Valerie Solanos, the woman who wrote the book S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) off which the play is based, and the person responsible for the shooting of Andy Warhol. Zacaharias and Grummett offer a fascinating insight into the mind of a tormented feminist, desperate to advance her cause by any means.
The creators do a great job of using humour to bring up issues that were so important fifty years ago, and demonstrate that these same issues continue to remain poignant in today’s society. The production gives them a safe space to ponder what it would actually be like if radical feminism took hold and men were cast to the wayside, their only value being their ability to provide the seed to carry on the human race. The set-up certainly pokes fun at the radical movement, to a certain extent, but without totally vilifying it. Through this production, Grummett and Zacharias don’t condone killing your ex-boyfriend, but they also admit they can understand why you might want to.
The play juxtaposes modern day feminism with the movement in the 1960’s, a soundtrack of Taylor Swift and David Bowie, and it works beautifully. The acting is on point, and although it is only a two-woman show, it is quite apparent that the duo has been working together for some time. The ladies are captivating and enigmatic, pulling the audience in from the start and commanding the room, often by engaging directly with audience members, and an almost uncomfortable level of eye contact. Nevertheless, it is impossible to drift off or let your mind wander while Grummett and Zacharias are doing their thing.
SCUM is an important show, and a must-see at this year’s festival. It is the duo’s first time performing in Montreal, and their level of creativity and dedication to their craft is truly admirable. This show is sure to be a hit with audiences in this city, one that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and genders.
Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Contributor Anya Leibovitch
Scantily Glad Theatre presents “SCUM: A Manifesto”
When: June 8 – 18, 2017
Where: MainLine Theatre, 3997 Saint-Laurent Blvd, H2W 1Y4
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: www.montrealfringe.ca | 514.849.FEST (3378)
Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival