Feminist at work : Independent Means


I haven’t mention before that this year I have faithfully tried to attend as many as possible The Riveters, UMSU Women’s Right Group events. The first one I attended was on prostitution, which had a sexual worker (a euphemism for prostitute, or worse, whore) talking, as well some other representative including Vicky, a Religions and Theology student from the Marxist Radical Forum, and other speakers from the International Union of Sex Workers and the English Collective of Prostitutes in a forum entitled ‘Sex and the Revolution’. In case you’d like to know what was being discussed, proceed here.

I have always stressed this : attending doesn’t really mean that you agree on everything this group stand for, but it is a challenge for you, a chance and opportunity for us to dig deep into our conscience. And of course, Islam has put a special status from women, but of course there is still something to fight for, not beyond this limit, but to have these status applied (admit it that whatever we have in our society is yet to be aligned with what it should have been).

And rather interestingly, the first theatre I watched this semester is a feminist (and, how less proud I have to say, romantic) one – Independent Means, staged at the Library Theatre. I managed to grab two preview tickets for £1 each and I have to say, even if I have to pay the full, non-concessionary price, I’d be willing to do so – it worths it! Funny yet full of courage, old but still relevant.

I was not surprised to know that the play was considered groundbreaking at its time – it was written almost 100 years ago, and it was not usual for men to see themselves as the sole breadwinner and provider of his family (ok, ok, it is not that I don’t agree with this) and of course, cannot stand his wife being steps ahead of him – intelectually, financially and all.

Funny that all these issues still exist despite us claiming to be more open-minded and perhaps more driven towards providing gender equality. That is why relationship books like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus might be a bestseller for the next 100 years, the gender conditioning has never ceased, or maybe because that the nature of men (as a gender, not mankind in general?) to resist changes?

By the way, if you are tempted to watch this piece, I am sorry to say that £1 ticket is no more available. But spending £7 or so might be worth, because here are another 5 reasons why you should head to the Library Theatre this month from whatonstage.com:

Distinguished actor Rupert Frazer makes his first appearance on the Manchester stage for 20 years as John Forsyth in Stanley Houghton’s Independent Means. His CV includes roles in Shackleton on BBC1 and Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, and recently he appeared as Lord Drysdale in Roger Donaldson’s film The Bank Job.Chris Honer’s production of Independent Means is at the Library Theatre in Manchester between 24 October – 22 November. For more information, call 0161 236 7110 or visit www.librarytheatre.com

We caught up with Rupert to find out his five reasons to see him in the Library’s current season, following the success of their Glee Club.

1. For the shock and pleasure of discovering such a rarely performed gem of a play.

2. Because it was written and is set in Manchester almost exactly 100 years ago.

3. To witness a wealthy family pitched headlong into the class, gender and money wars that was to change the face of society for ever.

4. For the fun of seeing how all this relates to our lives today.

5: And for the wonderful cast: Olwen May as my beautiful wife, Geoff Breton as my doted-on son and heir, Ruth Gibson as his independent, newly-wed wife, Richard Albrecht as my wife’s chief admirer, and Sarah Parks as the family’s trusty – and surprising – mainstay.

-Rupert Frazer

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One comment

  1. How interesting that the very matter that was considered a taboo less than a decade ago is now being discussed publicly in an open forum – an in such a reputable institution called a university.

    What made it even more amusing (or appaling?) is the fact that the PROSTITUTES actually came out from their nasty den not only to confess their status but also to demand for greater recognition and legistimation of their ‘work’.

    Be it from a marxist or any other perspectives you look at it from, prostitution is just a despicable and degrading job and deservingly get the perpetual contempts from the society !

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