Fortunately for this portion of the audience, the show isn’t just made up of Godot references. It is chock full of sketches that drive home the misogyny and objectification that women actors face in this industry. There’s a beep-del test, where the cast members are forced to run back and forth across stage until they can name a film that passes the Bechdel test (with the successful titles being Legally Blonde, My Little Pony and Black Panther). There is also a scene where each of the women are auditioning for a role and get ridiculed by the man on the audition panel (voiced by Johnny Paul) for talking back and being ‘too voluptuous to have done ballet’. This spirals into a powerful segment where White lists off the times she has been turned into a ‘socially acceptable fetish’ in acting roles for being curvy, starting with an incident when she was only 14. It is sickening.
Hancox-Monk also delivers an incredible monologue of quotes, starting with sexist comments close to her role as Hamlet last year in Summer Shakespeare Wellington’s production of Hamlet. She then moves through to rejection letters from the Beckett Estate for productions of Waiting for Godot that had hoped to cast women, and finally calls out the Pop-up Globe for its ‘#MeToo’ adaptation of Taming of the Shrew. It is all ‘historically accurate from the comments section’, she jabs.
The truth is that I have little to criticise in Waiting for Shark Week. It is an unapologetic show that calls out the patriarchy’s bullshit in every way: with humour, with intellect, with anger and with poignancy. It is definitely in its early development stages and could use some more tightening and polishing as well as some sound design, but it is an incredible show, and it is taking up the space it deserves. Please go and see it.
Waiting for Shark Week is on at BATS until Tuesday 17 March at 7:30pm on Sunday, and 8:30pm every other night. To book your tickets or for information about other shows in the festival, visit the Fringe website.