The Making of Slaughter/ette, or Binge Watching Season 19 of the Bachelor
The homemaker discards her personal aspirations for her husband’s. The exoticized woman of color is only loved for her otherness. The waitress and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl ooze desperation as they pine after the same man. We hate these stereotypes of women, yet they remain, permanently sewn into our collective understanding of the female species. Eight members of Butter & Serve Theatre Company bring these stereotypes to their upcoming 2015 Fringe Festival show Slaughter/ette at Mascher Space Cooperative. Influenced by the reality television series, The Bachelor, Slaughter/ette is a theater piece that stars these caricatures of women, but set within a slaughterhouse! “The spectacle will include everything we’ve come to know and love about guilty pleasure television: tears, glitter, wine, heartbreak, drama and often sloppy declarations of love. It will include the unmissable bending of reality that we love to hate and the bloodthirsty and cutthroat women that we love to condemn,” says co-founder of Butter & Serve Theatre Company, Sara Vanasse.
“After being sucked into this past season of The Bachelor, we were intrigued by the idea of using this material as a starting point for a larger conversation.” Slaughter/ette began as a guilty pleasure. Reality television with nonsensical stereotypes are surprisingly magnetic. Vanasse and the ensemble used their interest in The Bachelor as a springboard into the contradictions and confusion tethered to femininity. Rehearsal is marked by improvisation techniques to break down these tensions. “We use active long form improvisations around our theme, which will always yield a kernel of something we’d like to explore further, which in turn shapes our next exploration, and so on,” Vanasse explains.
The slaughterhouse is an incubator of comedic disaster. It manages to make already nonsensical representations of women even more outrageous. Vanasse says, “The proposed mash up of The Bachelor phenomenon with slaughter house culture will provide us with the tools to crack open these truer, deeper themes that are constantly present under the surface of the dating show.” By reproducing the stereotypes we are used to seeing on TV in a wacky, excessive way, Slaughter/ette reveals the foolish and twisted ways we imagine women.
Exploding stereotypes exposes other tensions. Vanasse is drawn to the contradiction between progress and restriction: “It is this juxtaposition of how far women have come in contemporary society with the way they are often portrayed in popular culture that we are interested in.” As women become leaders of our communities, they are also paralyzed in time as backwards, one-sided stereotypes. While these roles are obviously false, they are constantly repeated throughout pop culture and internalized (I mean, who hasn’t watched all six seasons of Gossip Girl twice and sort of loved it?). Slaughter/ette enables audiences to cope with these tensions through laughter. “The slaughter house setting gives us permission to laugh, not only at the in-your-face exposure of well-known bloodlust, but at ourselves for being so caught up in it.”
Mascher Space Cooperative
155 Cecil B Moore Avenue
Sept 3–5 at at 7:30pm
Click for ticket and info