A few weeks ago, I saw Brawler by Walk McGough at the BPT. I cringed in my seat through the whole thing, suffering as I often do from terrible second-hand embarrassment, but texted my friends the moment I was out of my theatre to tell them they had to see it.
I love stories about men, I really do. Perhaps this is why I was not content to remain a woman but normally stories about men don’t know they’re stories about men. They think they are stories about everyone or they thing they stories about a man and not about men. Stories about women always know they are stories about women.
Brawler has minimal design elements during the show, there were sound at the beginning and between the two scenes that made up the play, but other than that the fluorescent lights and silence remained constant.
The play asked the audience to sit with out anything to distract them and watch a play that is about the pain caused for white men by white men, and the havoc the wreck because of that pain. It shows you misogyny and racism and entitlement and it also shows you bruises and how players in pain are abandoned by the sports industry that created them. The play, and thus McGough knew what it was about.
I remembered watching that play thinking about every time I wished I could be athletic and a professional sports player, wished I could be one of the men, wished I could belong in a way I couldn’t and I cried for how I had turned my eyes away from the broken bodies that same institution that makes us want to belong creates.
I want more theatre like this. Please.