Imagine being onstage performing one of the most talked about and provocative theatre shows, having never read the script.
Charlie Hammond will be doing just that at The Continental in Preston on November 9, at 8pm, when he takes part in A Girl and a Gun.
The show, written by theatremaker Louise Orwin, challenges ideas of masculinity and femininity, as well as pop culture and broader society’s appetite for violence.
It creates audience anticipation and complicity to provoke the viewer to examine their own appetite for violence in the media, and the intrinsic sexual objectification of women.
Louise performs the show with a different local male guest co-star performer.
The guest male performer will have never seen the script before so his reactions - and those of the audience - are genuinely spontaneous.
He will read his lines and stage directions live off an autocue, the audience seeing some of his lines and directions projected onto an onstage screen.
As the performance progresses, he is directed to do increasingly violent things to the actress onstage, and he must decide what he will and won’t do.
Charlie, who has been in the Greater Manchester Fringe circuit with a show called Beaut, said: “I don’t see a script at all. All I know is that it is about relationships and is potentially violent in places, which is quite exciting.
“I have done a lot of improvisation before so I am looking forward to it.
“I trust that Louise is a great performer. I will go on stage and follow her lead and use the autocue.
“The audience is watching somebody see things for the first time. It is about watching the actor experience things just as the audience is. It is an honest reaction.”
Louise was inspired by sixties French filmmaker Jean Luc Godard who famously claimed that all he needed to make a film was a girl and a gun.
Thinking about this and how the media’s portrayal of women has moved on, Louise began seeing girls and guns everywhere and decided to make a show that would challenge films which use girls and guns as easy plot devices and the audiences that watch them - whilst also admitting her own confusion, as a woman, at being simultaneously repulsed and attracted to exactly that kind of imagery.
Louise said: “From a young age I’ve been particularly drawn to the image of the femme fatale but as my politics developed I began to question this. By making an unprepared stranger the star of the show every night, it is my hope that audiences will consider how they might feel if they, too, were put in this position.”
A Girl And A Gun was commissioned by Contact Theatre (Manchester) and MC Theatre (Amsterdam) as part of their Flying Solo Festival.
Tickets are £8, or £6 for concessions and can be ordered by visiting http://www.newcontinental.net.