This will be interesting. The play is inspired by last year’s Waking Life coffee shop scandal. Here’s the press release:
Written and directed by local playwright Toni Sherwood as part of the Catalyst Production Series at NC Stage, this satire of the Manosphere has sparked discussion among the community before it even hit the stage.
In the “Manosphere,” men view relationships with women as games to be won. Inspired by actual events, Red Pill Diaries is a scathing, satirical, and critical look at the behaviors (and underlying culture that makes such behaviors possible) of the Red Pill Movement.
What is the Red Pill Movement? The term was borrowed from The Matrix. The Matrix Wiki explains it this way, “’You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.’ The term red pill refers to a human that is aware of the true nature of the Matrix.”
The Red Pill Movement is a group of like-minded men connected virtually via reddit who feel they are aware of the true nature of male/female relationships. They adhere to a philosophy that demonizes feminists and calls decent men ‘beta losers’, blaming them all for the disastrous state of the world. Their dating strategy is all about conquest. One method used to approach a woman who rates a ‘9’ or a ‘10’ is to shake their confidence by ‘negging’ them; a psychological poke meant to show her that he doesn’t think she’s so great, in order to get beyond her ‘bitch shield’, as they call it.
In the tradition of Saturday Night Live, this play takes a serious subject and spins it in a satirical way, complete with song parodies, dance numbers, and a generous dash of absurdity.
The play stars local actors John Cantley, Hayley Heninger, Dianne Chapman, Darren Marshall, Dakota Mann, Jenni Robinson, Alya Ayers and Bri Tureff.
· If you have been in a relationship with someone adhering to the Men’s Rights Movement, this show may be a trigger. Do not attend!
· If you are offended by frank, graphic, sexual language and men behaving extremely badly, Do not attend!
· If you believe that white, middle class men are the actual oppressed demographic in the world, do not…wait…you need to attend this!
Red Pill Diaries
Where: North Carolina Stage Company, 15 Stage Lane in downtown Asheville, NC
Dates: August 18th – September 3rd, 2016
Performance Times: Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 PM
Ticket Prices: $12 – $22.
If the “humorous” content warnings are any indication of the playwright’s skill with the rest of her work…I’ll be skipping this play. Seems like a lot of telling women who were hurt by these guys what to do and how to feel about what happened to them. Unless the author herself was one of the women whose trust was abused in the Waking Life scandal…then this isn’t her story to try to turn into humor.
I am a big believer in art, and its power to deal with tough issues. But this play is not that. It is an attempt to profit from people’s trauma. The women who were victimized by the Waking Life guys were not consulted until they demanded to be heard. I believe some modifications were made at their request (for example changing the name of the café where this play takes place) and a disclaimer added (which I actually find dismissive of people who have experienced this sort of abuse). I think you should not promote this play, people should not attend, and the author should consider being better at considering the lives of people she is writing about.
I’m all for satirizing and calling out MRAs and all their sub-movements, but this piece sure seems to be doing some “punching down” along with its “punching up,” and therefore isn’t moving the conversation forward as it seems to think it will. This story is based off of real crimes and abuses against real women, and I’m pretty sure that first “Content Warning” in particular is a jab at those women who were victims, who matter, and who also might not want their story, not even a year old, played out for someone else’s entertainment. Seems like the creator just wanted to capitalize on patriarchy’s ever-persistent devaluation of women, not unlike the PUAs themselves did.