“Tech week is my favourite part of putting on a play”, says Emily Barber as we enter Bush Hall for the first time, “it’s so exciting seeing it all come together!”. The venue is a turn of the century music hall that has had stints as a bingo hall and a snooker venue before returning to housing some now-famous acts at the beginning of their careers.
Why is it important that the majority of the team, onstage and off, on Boys Will Be Boys is female?
Whilst this play explores a number of different themes and thoughts, (from finance and the City, to prostitution, relationships and winning) it is ultimately about gender: "How do you get into boy’s world when you’ve got a vagina?” There is, it is proposed in rehearsals, a fascination with women’s sexuality. We discuss how women are still often divided into two categories: the Virgin Mary or the sinning Eve. We idolise a woman’s beauty, their figure and their being. But if they make a mistake then they brought it on themselves, they are reckless and they should have known better: “Ooh, we love damaged women don’t we?”
“Fuck it. I’d rather be dead than old.”
The lifestyle of the City is fast-paced and hedonistic. There is a feeling that city boys and girls are in some way different to the rest of us. Books like “Gross Misconduct: My Year Of Excess In The City’ by Venetia Thompson, and ‘City Boy: Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile” by Geraint Andersen, document this world and give a bit of an insight. Their social lifestyle is an extension of their work style: quick witted and brutal with no time for consequences, losers or failure. Moving at such a pace both requires and breeds a certain personality, a type of person that arguably sets much of the action in the play on a roll.
“James, can you show us how you stand when you pee?"
For most rehearsals the room is all female, it’s suggested that this allows the piece to comment more openly on the sexism in the action and it definitely changes the dynamic of our discussions. The few times we do have a guy in with us we often need them to explain certain aspects of intrinsic manliness we just don’t get – like urinating with a penis. Today James Fortune, Musical Director, is our honorary male.
“Crudely, this play is about whether you sit down or stand up to pee”, says director Amy Hodge. It’s Monday morning and the meet and greet for Boys Will Be Boys by Melissa Bubnic, a play that explores our modern conceptions of gender through the lens of the Foreign Exchange Brokering.