UTSoC Reviews: UTS Wom*n’s Revue’s Sealed Section

 All images courtesy of UTS Wom*n's Revue and Sophie-Jaye Hayman (2018). 

All images courtesy of UTS Wom*n's Revue and Sophie-Jaye Hayman (2018). 

Bronte Gossling sneaks into Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre to tear open the sealed section with UTS Wom*n’s Revue.

We’re only three months into the year, but what a progressive three months it’s been for wom*n in the arts. In Hollywood, the Time’s Up movement was established on 1 January 2018, and is only gaining traction as more industry heavy-hitters speak out. This passion has ignited us all here Down Under, and the cast and crew of UTS Wom*n’s Revue’s Sealed Section are definitely feeling the heat.  

It’s a cloudy day, and the wind is howling outside the intimate theatre – inside, meanwhile, I can’t stop howling with laughter. Julia McNamara, the designated publicity director, has kindly organised for me to drop in for a sneak-peak of the 90-minute sketch-filled show, and I couldn’t have been more excited to be sitting in front of 14 vivacious women-/non-binary-identifying comedians if I tried. The sketches are simultaneously poignant and hilarious, with the quick-witted writing spearheaded by Jordana Wegman evoking strong hormone-tinged memories of the rollercoaster that was my, and (hopefully) every Australian girls’ pubescent period.

It becomes apparent throughout the technical rehearsal that the stage is nothing but a safe space for the cast and crew. What is a normally stressful time, being the day before opening night, is still such – but the Sealed Section team pull it off with a level of love, pride and mutual support that I’ve yet to see in another production.

Olivia Jeavons attributes this to the cast demographic. “It’s fantastic that everyone in the cast is women or non-binary identifying; the energy is totally different in the most positive way, it’s a really supportive environment to be in,” the first-time theatre producer says.

“There’s definitely something really energizing about just being with a cast and a crew of really really funny comedians,” she continues, “I mean, yeah they’re wom*n-identifying, but also they’re just really funny people and they put in 110 percent into everything they do. Everybody is super passionate, everybody is here by choice, and I think what’s different [from other productions] is that everyone is here with one common goal – to provide that much-needed platform for wom*n in comedy, and putting that talent out there.”

 Left to right: Stapo and Shaw, by Sophie-Jaye Hayman. 

Left to right: Stapo and Shaw, by Sophie-Jaye Hayman. 

Jeavons also believes that the production’s theme, Sealed Section, is what sets UTS Wom*n’s Revue apart from other university productions with similar target audiences. The theme, according to co-directors and resident BNOC’s, Annaliese Shaw and Gabby Stapleton (colloquially known as Stapo amongst her friends), was inspired by quirky warm-ups during the initial rehearsal stages.

“During the rehearsal process, we found ourselves consistently discussing the sealed section of magazines and how funnily enough they answered more questions posed by our pubescent selves than any good old Aussie PDHPE syllabus. We thought this was a pretty universal experience that we wanted to explore,” they said.

“We would often begin our writing workshops with a warm-up by concocting fake Dolly Doctor questions, which had us rolling on the floor with laughter. Once we settled on the theme of Sealed Section, we decided to integrate a lot of our own Dolly Doctor questions into the opening number of the show!”

With so much comedic material that covers a variety of topics, how can anyone choose a favourite part? Without giving away too many spoilers, Shaw and Stapo stated that they’re excited for audiences to see Britt Ferry’s interpretation of a stereotypical Australian PDHPE teacher.

Jeavons, however, can’t get over Ruby Teys’ Tim Bailey. The staple of our childhood weather-watching habits becomes a recurring gag during the show, which is still only a glimmer of the level of detail that morphs this production into a true blue reflection of Aussie pubescence.

 Image courtesy of UTS Wom*n's Revue and Sophie-Jaye Hayman. 

Image courtesy of UTS Wom*n's Revue and Sophie-Jaye Hayman. 

Sealed Section is playing from 21 – 24 March 2018 at Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre. Tickets are available here, and UTSoC is attending the show on 23 March 2018. If you’re a UTSoC member, you’ll be receiving a special something in your inbox with the code to get $15 tickets.

Bronte Gossling is a third-year (oh my god, already?!) Journalism/International Studies (Spain) student, who has a penchant for being super organised but is also perpetually late to any and all engagements. Nice.