FRINGE INTERVIEW Orla O’Loughlin discusses ‘Locker Room Talk’

The Traverse Theatre will host the World Premiere of Locker Room Talk on August 21 by Award-winning playwright and Traverse Associate Artist Gary McNair during Traverse Festival 2017 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Directed by Traverse Artistic Director Orla O’laughlin, Locker Room Talk is a provocative piece of event theatre. Inspired by Donald Trump’s leaked sexual aggressive comments, the show is a confronting exploration of the phenomenon the then presidential candidate later dismissed as ‘locker room banter’.

McNair uses these comments as a creative catalyst, provoking and gathering hundreds of conversations with men and boys about women. These recording are relayed via headphones and performed verbatim by a cast of women.

A vital part of each performance is a post-show conversation, inviting the audience to examine the issues raised: Just how prevalent is this mysogynistic language? And how much ownership of the current situation do we need to take before seeing change?

TSA caught up with Artistic Director, Orla O’Loughlin to find out more about the anticipated show:

Generally the media focus has moved on from Trump’s misogny to his stupidity and ineptitude, what are your thoughts on this?

He’s fair game for so many reasons. Trump is clearly such a dysfunctional human being and his misogyny hasn’t stopped. It’s one of his many dangerous defining features. And sadly we’ve started expecting it and worse accepting that this is a part of who he is.

Award winning playwright Gary McNair brings the world premiere of Locker Room Talk to the Edinburgh Fringe
After listening to hundreds of men discuss their attitudes to discussing women, what effect do you think the elevation of Trump to power has had on these conversations?

It has for some legitimised the position that bragging about sexual assault can be dismissed as ‘locker room talk’. If the President of the USA behaves like this and says it’s ok, then for some that means it is.

You chose to have four women perform the words of hundreds of men, why four, why not two or eight?

When we programmed the project we thought 4 felt right. Enough performers to ensure a diversity of representation and enable them to play a large number of roles which is an important part of the theatrical form of the piece. To date, 10 different women have been part of the company, my ambition is to do a version with 56 women which is the number of men who appear in the production.

Does the audience discussion after the performance give feedback into future performances?

Definitely. It’s a chance to reflect on what we’ve shown and enable a public conversation that there is evidently an appetite for. The traverse audience is up for engaging with big and challenging ideas and the debate about both the form and content of this show has been unprecedented and is still live. The production continues to evolve as a direct result of the discussions had in the post shows and still ongoing. There has been such magnificent investment from our audience and we have a responsibility to hold that and carry it with us as the work continues.

Gary McNair’s ‘Locker Room Talk’ will play the Traverse Theatre as part of the Traverse Festival 2017 on August 21st at 14:45 and 19:00. You can purchase tickets here.

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