Billed as a ‘play with music’ with numerous trigger and content warnings, Flush was streamed live from the Sarah Lawrence College in New York over the last weekend.
Written by Hallie Riddick, a recent graduate of the college, this is a tough tale of four girls in the Deep South dealing with the outcome and fallout of a serious sexual assault on one of their number, turning to primitive custom, ritual and violence to deal with it.
There are only two songs, one more of a chant, and both repeated more than once. They were composed by SD Diamond, and fit well with both the plot and the setting – well directed by Amanda Card and edited by Karen Loewy Movilla.
Zoom productions are getting cleverer, and this one uses puppets, animation, and traditional window by window filming to move the story along. Each performance is very strong: Saffron Quinn makes an impact as the vulnerable Flush; with Audrey Stathakis (Drip), Allegra Dubus-Brandolini (Leak), and Annie Porter (Cold) all offering strong characterisations.
One comment I would make is that the discussion of rape is often uncomfortably direct and perhaps too detailed in places. It is a brave decision to write and perform it this way, but now and again I felt a line had been crossed where less may have been more.
Still, Flush is undoubtedly a potent and thought-provoking piece of work, and is a valuable addition to the growing body of new student productions. We need to celebrate survivors and have difficult conversations, and perhaps doing this through drama is as good an approach as any.
Flush streamed over Zoom on 24 October.