The walk of shame: such a horrible phrase, but one we all know the meaning of. And let’s face it, in our minds we are already imagining it will be the girl doing it, because, well, blokes don’t because there simply is no shame for a bloke to have a one-night stand. But for girls, well, you know how it can be…
Alice (Stephanie Silver) goes out with Billy, but Billy is being a bit of a berk. That fish and chips meal he promised turns out to be home made, with only one plate and one knife and fork, which he is hogging. And my God, he has mixed the mayo into the tomato sauce — what an idiot! Frustrated and annoyed, Alice decides to head out on her own for the evening, making it very clear as she speaks directly into the camera, she is after a good shag. Of course, Alice being Alice, she doesn’t say shag, she is a lot coarser than that! A few drinks later, she meets a charlied-up Liam (Sam Landon), and ends up back at his place, both of them with one thing on their horny, drunk and drug- fuelled minds. Except, well, a girl can change her mind. Can’t she?
Of course, by naming your show Walk of Shame and introducing Alice as they do, in her heavy make-up, cheeks shining from it all, earrings dangling a là Pat Butcher, you’re already reinforcing any predisposed bias and snobbery about this girl. We might all be thinking that Alice is going to be doing that walk before the end of this short play from Glass Half full Theatre. It probably says more about our psyche than we’d want to admit, that we are already identifying Alice as a bit of a chav, a girl who, well, probably would after a few drinks. And without any doubt, it’s deliberate, because this is a show about a woman’s right to choose, about consent and very much about that questionable male privilege to think that way about anyone, no matter how they look or talk.
Visually it’s a fun watch, at least until the real story begins to unfold, that is. Much of the show is simply Alice talking to the camera against a white wall. But as she builds the story, little snippets are cut into the film to give it more body; the fish and chips dinner Billy is preparing means we see a plate, a box of frozen battered fish, then the mayo mixed with the sauce. It’s simple but it works well, breaking up the monologue in a humorous fashion. When Liam (the only other actor we see) is introduced later, our initial perception is of a well-spoken, well dressed individual, the very polar opposite of what we perceive in Alice. Not someone who would even be seen doing that walk of shame. Especially as he talks about his mother, who taught him to respect a woman, you know, to open the door but maybe give her ass a little slap as she walks through. Perfect gent, ain’t he?
What starts out as a fun, amusing little play quickly develops into something much more sinister, a play that messes in style with our pre-conceptions, with our biases, with that whole questionable image of lad culture, and, like all good theatre, really should make us examine ourselves for it. It isn’t for anyone easily offended, but then again, if you have read this far, it’s likely you have already worked that one out.
Written by: Amelia Lovsey & Stephanie Silver
Directed by: Michelle Pay
Produced by: Caley Powell and Glass Half Full Productions
Walk of Shame is playing as part of Online@TheSpaceUK Season 2, and will be availabe free until 31 January. This show, plus many others, can be found on the website below.