One of Scotland’s leading theatres is to create a new show inspired by the storm of controversy over Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” comments.
The president-elect was forced to apologise during the race for the White House when a tape emerged in which he could be heard boasting about being able to grope women.
Now the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh is joining forces with one of the country’s leading new playwrights, Gary McNair, to tackle the issues raised by Trump’s behaviour, his subsequent apology and the debates they inspired.
The show, Locker Room Talk, is described as a “quick-response verbatim piece” will be based on interviews Mr McNair is conducting with dozens men.
But it will be performed by an all-female cast during its run at the Traverse in February.
The show, which will be directed by Orla O’Loughlin, the theatre’s artistic director, is part of a forthcoming programme of work which “seeks to elevate the voices of those often left on the margins of our rapidly-changing society and tell stories at risk of being overlooked.” It is hoped it could be revived for a full run at next year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Traverse will be hosting audience discussions after the performances of Locker Room Talk, which will look at whether the kind of comments made be by Trump in the 2005 video, posted by the Washington Post weeks before the election, are acceptable in certain environments.
Mr Trump was heard bragging to TV host Billy Bush about trying to have sex with a married woman, as well as kissing and groping others.
He said: I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Mr McNair, who is based in Glasgow, said: “I was one of those sharing tweets from sports stars saying: ‘This isn’t locker room chat. That’s not how people talk.’ I was momentarily pleased by the reaction. But that seemed to be the end of it. I was left with an emptiness of where the discussion was.
“No-one was asking ‘why do men talk like this, where do men talk like this, and what gives them the privilege and right to feel that they can. There is a need and justification to make it permissible in our culture.
“I hear that chat. We can’t pretend this is just one lone ranger speaking like a madman. It’s very much part of our cultural however much under a rock or pushed to the side it is.
“The questions at the heart of the show are where is this language used and how does it make us feel? Can we have a more in-depth conversation rather than just try to push past it or disassociate ourselves?”
Ms O’Loughlin said: “What has really been sidestepped is his (Mr Trump’s) assertion that this was locker room talk.
“The question is whether this is a metaphorical Trump space or a real space. That’s what we’re investigating.
“It gets to the heart of something that, for us, needs to be put centre stage. It’s about reaching as diverse a group of men as possible, getting out of the echo chamber and being robust enough to take it and understand our very close proximity to it in our community and society.
“I would hope that we surprise ourselves and we learn things and reveal things that we weren’t expecting.
“I’m very excited about the show’s future. It is a work in progress at the moment but there is no doubt we are ambitious for it.”