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That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play

by Sheila Callaghan
Callaghan, Photo: Helayne Seidman
That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play started out as a reaction to the kind of nasty, misogynistic plays that have been adored by the masses for the past decade. But then it turned into an investigation of why we - meaning I - find this work compelling and repulsive at the same time. It attempts to critique the images while simultaneously trafficking in them. -Sheila Callaghan
After reading Lascivious Something, my expectations were pretty high for Callaghan's That Pretty Pretty. I am sad to say that I didn't like it very much. Not only did I find it confusing, but I didn't buy Callaghan's intention that it was women taking these misogynistic images and reclaiming them. Perhaps my opinion of the play would improve upon seeing a production.

There is no doubt that Callaghan is an extremely talented writer. This particular play is just not my cup o' tea. Though, considering rape has been on my mind lately (see: posts on The Great Divide), it was interesting to see the gender reversals and how that changed my experience of the scene in the hotel room.

Despite the title, this play is a comedy. There are graphic, even scary scenes, but the heart of the piece is light. Owen is a writer, creating a piece based on an experience he and his friend had with two girls, though he is taking artistic liberties with what actually happened. We are left thinking, what is real? Who is telling the truth? Callaghan creates a dynamic play that pushes boundaries and buttons. As Owen says in the final scene:
Some people don't want to see the truth. But my question to them is, why is "truth" so controversial?
Tomorrow's Play: The Great Divide - Day 22

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