On the weekend following White Ribbon Day, Hurried Steps is a fitting show. Written by Dacia Maraini — in collaboration with Amnesty International—as part of its global campaign to stop violence against women and girls, Hurried Steps is a brutal and provoking piece. Written and performed as a staged reading, the performance showcases ten very candid and heart wrenching true stories of women from different cultures, and the abuse they’ve suffered. These raw stories expose issues such as rape, female genital mutilation and sex trafficking. The vignettes are real and beautifully written. The five performers did the piece justice, creating complex and layered characters possessing strong vocal characterisation.
Hurried Steps is a sound piece of writing; however, you can’t help but be repulsed at the facts of these stories and the atrocities done against women around the world. It was hard to digest at times, the play itself was dark and had no sense of hope attached whatsoever which, from an audience perspective, can be a dangerous line to tread.
With a group discussion following the performance, it was clear the content of the play had both the panel and the audience divided. There was a clear uncertainty of whether the consensus found this play was constructive or not. Yes, confronting material can prompt debate and inspire society to make change, but it can also perpetuate the cycle of fear that is all too often being bred within society.
Hurried Steps is a worthwhile performance. These are important stories worthy of being shared and we should not turn a blind eye from them. Having said that, I feel instead of dwelling in the darkness of these tales we need to find a way to give these stories credence and build hope. Ultimately, it’s important to focus on empowering women and men, giving them the tools and the courage to change the ongoing cycle of violence within society.
Photos: Ray Wing Lun & Geoff Sirmai
Jess Wright – Theatre Now and Talking Arts