INTERVIEW: GAZE | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

GAZE, S.L. Page‘s first full-length play, taps into that all too common experience of what it is like to exist in a world that labels you as ‘different’. As a disabled artist with complex mental health issues, writing is her way of creating a space for herself, which she describes as “a space where I am free to either escape, or express myself and my experiences. It is my method for finding freedom, and I have absolute autonomy on what I choose to write.” Over the last couple of years, the support from Graeae (a theatre company which puts D/deaf and disabled artists at its heart) has given her the enthusiasm to keep writing, and now this opportunity to showcase her work at Northern Stage as part of the BEYOND programme is invaluable.

In this work, Page has chosen to portray the stories of two women from different centuries and worlds alongside each other, which she finds “depressing, as well as illuminating. So much has changed, and yet so little has changed at the same time. Yes, women have the vote. We have more access to careers. But we are still not safe, we can’t walk home from work, or across a park to meet a friend without risk.”

For S.L. Page, tracing the history of women in the world of film becomes wrapped up with the recent exposure of the ways women are still systematically abused within the industry

In the play, Alice Guy Blaché, the first woman to direct a film, and the first person of any gender to direct a film with a narrative, faces countless barriers and betrayal as her film career is burgeoning in the late 19th Century, while modern-day film student Rose grapples with her mental health in her battle to find a sense of purpose in her life.

As a complete film nerd, it was by chance that S.L. Page came across Alice Guy Blaché and when she did, it was like finding a key to an entirely new world of cinema, a world in which women have been part of the picture since the very beginning. It then became important to her to use Blaché’s story to reflect on how women have always been there, making films. Living centuries apart, these women fight to access the power, the autonomy and the creative freedom that we all deserve through their love of film. For S.L. Page, tracing the history of women in the world of film becomes wrapped up with the recent exposure of the ways women are still systematically abused within the industry. In that sense, not much has changed and the character of Rose reflects that.

How do we as women discover our true identities? How can we share the unheard stories of remarkable women left out of the traditional history books? In GAZE, S.L. Page addresses these pertinent questions and highlights what has changed for women across time, but also – more importantly – what hasn’t. The script is witty, touching and very apt for times like these.

S.L. Page sees her role quite clearly: “My task is to write, and to send that writing out into the world – then I have to hope it finds an audience.” Her unique perspective on what it is to be a woman and to be ‘different’ deserves an audience: an audience of women who yearn for more autonomy, power and creative freedom – and the men who need to hear this too.

GAZE by S.L. Page is at Northern Stage, Newcastle on Thursday 25th November

 

 

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout