Currently, feminism is considered a highly controversial subject; its definition seems to vary from person to person. It’s why I haven’t committed to identifying as a feminist, which seems, somehow, like a scandalous statement in this impossibly politically correct world that we live in. Due to this, I tend to avoid the subject of feminism because what does ‘feminism’ mean, anyway?
Ode to Man, written and performed by Emma Mary Hall, with the assistance of Lindsay Cox, is a simple yet hilarious production that showcases a thought provoking discussion about what lies beneath the word feminism.
Emma Hall attempts to outline the subject in a comedic yet analytic manner as she walks through the 14 chapters of her ode to man. She appears maniacal at times: screaming profanities, openly disclosing her hatred of men, and stereotyping the male gender as misogynistic pigs. However, her performance is almost a hoax as she delivers an intense, yet comedic approach towards feminism and the redefinition of masculinity. In short, the stereotypical definition of a man is dying as modernity blurs away the lines that segregate the genders.
This show may appear to cater directly to a female demographic as Hall paints a world without men, but this assumption couldn’t be more incorrect. During her performance the entire front row was occupied by young men who seemingly enjoyed every second of the show. These twenty-something-year-old men were genuinely engaged: they were still laughing and discussing its nuances as the crowd poured out of the theatre.
Initially, I wasn’t overly excited about watching Ode to Man as I was half expecting to encounter a similar experience to Chandler’s in F.R.I.EN.D.S (The One With The Soap Opera Party); as he’s ditched by the gang and finds himself alone in the theatre as the woman on stage yells “why don’t you love me”. I’m not going to lie; I did feel a sense of déjà vu as there were moments when Emma Hall yelled “why don’t you love me”. But my reaction couldn’t have been more opposite to Chandler’s. The delivery of her ideas was incredibly clever: she told anecdotes, quoted well-known authors like Sylvia Plath, and interacted with the projected animated backdrop in an entertainingly witty manner.
While I didn’t leave the theatre completely enlightened on the subject of feminism, or the final definition of what it means to be masculine, Hall managed to ignite an awareness, and I found myself questioning what women actually want, and whether this dilemma is truly caused by the existence of men.