Sexual politics on stage


AFTER a night of drunken flirting, Amber and Tom, two college freshmen at Princeton, end up in bed together. Sex was something they both seemed to want. When Tom had resisted playing a game at a keg party earlier in the evening, Amber suggested he should relent “if you wanna sleep with me tonight”. When the two start dancing, Amber playfully takes off her shirt. But what happens later that night, in the twin bed of Tom’s dorm room, is less clear. Tom seems to think he was following the relevant cues, but Amber sees things differently. “Thomas Anthony practically raped me,” she tells her friend in the hungover haze of the next morning. They will ultimately present their conflicting versions of events before a campus tribunal.

“Actually”, a timely new two-person play from Anna Ziegler, dramatises a he-said, she-said scenario on a college campus. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, the play effectively illustrates just how complicated these cases can be, clouded as they are by alcohol, inexperience, mixed messages and the…Continue reading

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Redeeming Mary Magdalene

EVERY generation of artists has brought its own sensibilities and experiences to the depiction of canonical Christian stories. Giotto, an Italian painter, set Bible scenes in medieval Tuscany. Rembrandt gave his a hint of mercantile 17th-century Amsterdam. “Mary Magdalene” is similarly a retelling of some of the faith’s main events …

The mysterious reggaeton bangers of Mexico’s election

FOR evidence that modern democracy has lost its pep, look back to the age of cheery campaign jingles. The art form dominated elections from America to the Philippines after the second world war. Australian political parties used them well into the 1980s. It is tempting to believe that melodious campaigns …

The maddest March: at last, a 16-seed upsets a number one

THE line separating the improbable from the impossible is hard to pin down. The annual single-elimination tournament to crown the champion of North America’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in men’s basketball is known as “March Madness”, thanks to the steady diet of upsets it produces. Every year, a few …