• Amy Toledano

The Lesson by Gracia Rios

Image by Lexi Clare

What is it?

A one woman clowning performance that uses experimental devices to recreate a traumatic experience in the performers life (and the life of many women).

What is it about?

Flopping out of a box with the words "MADE IN SPAIN" stamped on the side Gracia Rios, a bag over her head and a body made of all the usual parts clambers her way out. She begins to uncover various things on the stage that are both absurd and hilarious. The show's structure is made up of various "lessons", as Rios avoids answering the question of an ever present voice, asking her to make her testimony.

Dildos, sex positions and a barbie doll are all used to explore female sexuality and use humour to uncover the dark truths in abuse and the ownership of women and their bodies.

How did it make me feel?

A character that is unique and highly entertaining, Gracia Rios build a rapport with the audience almost immediately. There is a sense of camaraderie, and the audience feels safe, despite the constant possibility of participation looming in the room. The concept is clever, and we are with Rios from the get go, wondering what her testimony will be and when she will share it with us. The humour ramps up and the audience is in constant fits of laughter, until it all comes to an end. The power and clever writing draws us in and knocks us down, revealing the truth behind the character, what she is hiding from, and how she is going to push through it. A final and incredibly heartbreaking line rouses a sense of intense solidarity in the room, and is a credit to the artist and her work.

Anything else?

A brilliantly crafted show, by a very talented performer, this piece continues to surprise and excite throughout. A masterful piece of work.

Amy x

The Lesson is playing on the 10th and 14th November 2019 and Tristan Bates Theatre.

If you like our reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy any of us a virtual coffee here!