One of the key issues faced by Two Destination Language performers Alister and Kat in their new show Manpower is that their topic – the role of men today – is complex, constantly emerging, and fraught with stereotypes.  Your view will be shaped by your own experiences.  So the structure they use, defining a man in traditional ways both in terms of what the man does on stage and how the woman treats him, to encourage you to question their proposition, is very effective.

It’s an eclectic mix of performance techniques.  Man builds the frame of a physical shed live on stage and discusses how to cable a hifi system.  Woman explains that men don’t know how to work hard any more, and that without work they have no sense of purpose.  Is she right?  By taking the position back towards 1975, the work looks at both how the role of men has changed and how that might have impacted our relationship with the EU.  By presenting something we question, we consider our own thoughts on the subject.

From my preview, ‘One of the reasons we started being interested is that the binary view is outmoded, gender is now something with many more options. Although you identify as a male, you can have many different ways to be a man.’

It may look rough and ready, as the woman weaves through logs on the stage and the man heaves pieces of timber, but timing is split second perfect and the physical actions, dialogue and music (played live on vinyl) fall together seamlessly.  In the end it’s an unsettling and slightly absurd show, and yet it is immensely thought provoking and very funny.  Three days later I’m still processing the messages.  That’s good theatre.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

One Response to “Manpower”

  1. Andrew Wild says:

    I haven’t yet decided if this was a work of genuis or utter nonsense. Either way, it’s worth attention.

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