Hear Me Out by Kayla Feldman
What is it?
In this discovery of self, Kayla Feldman gives a brutally honest account of the conditions, the pressures and difficulties that come with womanhood. Through poetry shares her experience of sexual encounters, societal ideas of beauty and her struggle for self-acceptance.
What's it all about?
Feldman opens this show with a poem about her experience of growing up as a curvy woman. Of coming from a "long line of curvy woman." From this, she begins to break down the mental implications of these kinds of stereotypes and the insane pressure that comes from focusing on appearance and "beauty" from such a young age. Feldman uses personal experience to highlight the damage that this puts on all women and shares her own "stats" of her sexual encounters, describes her relationship with her breasts and her struggle for self-love that comes from learning from a young age to hate her body.
How did it make me feel?
Where do I begin? It is not very often that as a woman I feel seen, I feel acknowledged and valued when in the audience at the theatre. But Feldman's piece does all three things giving voice to the dark thoughts so many of us have hidden deep within. In saying these things out loud, Feldman cuts through the bullshit of what we have been taught- laying her own experience bare. Her matter of fact delivery makes this show even more important, highlighting the commonplace nature of so many experiences of sexual assault and the shame that comes with it. How can it be in this day and age we are still being taught to keep our voices quiet? Why do we feel as if we should to keep our male counterparts comfortable and safe at the expense of our own lives? Feldman blows these questions out of the water with this raw description of how it really feels to be a woman in a man's world.
It almost feels a little wrong to be "reviewing" this completely original show. All I can say is that it is one that should be seen by everyone, everywhere and that it is definitely one of the highlights of Maiden Speech Festival. I can only hope that we continue to see more theatre like this in the UK, and the rest of the world. Feldman has created a piece that is so rare and beautiful that it will give anyone who has ever felt small, ugly or unseen hope that we do have the power to create change in a world that feels completely hopeless.