By Brian Morton
Published July 21, 2019
"Under Where" is a simple yet thoughtful production that explores "unmentionables", the most often hidden garments that lie between a woman's skin and her outer clothing.
Local Hamilton actor and producer Annalee Flint has written her first staged play, a monologue that begins around the time, just before the start of the First World War, when corsets and stays physically restricted a woman's movement and created the "tiny waists" that often led to health issues.
In just three scenes, each one interspersed with some erotic shadow puppetry on a translucent room divider as she changes costume, Flint's play carries us through to the era of the 1940s, when the silhouettes of women changed profoundly with bullet bras and tight knit sweaters.
Through the pinup girls like Lana Turner and Marilyn Monroe, we see how the male gaze informs the fashion choices that women make.
Director Liz Buchanan does a fine job keeping the pace quick and lively and also choreographing the slightly raunchy scene transformations.
In the final scene, Flint takes as back to her own teenage years roughly fifteen years ago, and recalls the phenomenon of the "thong". This section of the work felt more authentic to me, as Flint seems to be recalling elements of her own life and her desire to attract the attention of boys by being deliberately provocative.
I hope that this work develops into a full-length play, perhaps by adding an additional actor to it. I have found in recent years that one person shows are over-saturated on the Fringe circuit these days, making finding an audience harder than it once used to be.
Still, the ideas behind this play are very important and I trust that a more fully developed version of the script will yield even more significant discoveries.
I found "Under Where", even when presented in this early version at Tourism Hamilton, has a great deal to say. I applaud Flint for sharing this work using only her voice. It takes courage to take centre-stage for the first time with only your own words. Bravo to that!
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