The author of a play performed in Salford about sexual assault says she wrote it “for the female victims of sexual assault”.
Aisling Caffrey says it is important that people listen to women and their experiences of sexual assault and rape.
“Every woman, for sure, has an instance of sexual assault where they’ve gone ‘I have to carry this for the rest of my life and how do I do that?’. So basically I wanted to write a play for them.”
Aisling urges audiences to “Listen to the women in your life because some s*** will have gone down… and you’ll never even know.”
“I’ve got personal friends – everybody’s got somebody. Whether it’s yourself, whether it’s somebody else.
One Good Night, written by Caffrey and directed by Joel Perry, was performed at The King’s Arms in Salford in early February.
The play begins after Amelia (Lydia Cashman) is raped by ex-boyfriend Pete (Christopher Roscoe) and explores how the incident and betrayal of trust affects her life. But also the ways in which women can support each other following a traumatic event.
Caffrey, says perpetrators of rape in film, theatre and TV rarely take the form of someone the victim trusts. In the case of One Good Night, the perpetrator is a romantic partner.
“Nobody wants to think that their choice of partner isn’t the greatest choice. Nobody wants to think that of somebody. [Amelia] didn’t want to think that of Pete. She didn’t want to believe that he’d done that to her but he had. People are multi-faceted.”
“I think it’s because no one wants to think that the bogeyman is in their bed.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), “Eight out of ten rapes are committed by someone known to the victim”, with 33% of these instances being committed by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
Aisling was also interested in the theme of power and the consequences of it when writing her play.
She said: “I think the play is more about power than about assault, but also how you get out of the situation you’re in.”
“How are you going to wriggle out of this horrible thing that you’re in. Land your characters in hot water and see what happens to them.”
When researching for the play, Aisling spoke to a group of women from Rape Crisis who had experienced sexual assault.
The Birmingham-born actor and playwright describes herself as being “born a feminist” and believes it’s important to support other female playwrights because “a voice needs to be articulated for everybody”.
Although women are represented in theatre, she said: “Even if [male playwrights] say it in the nicest way possible – that’s not the point. The point is we’re not getting to say it ourselves.”
Aisling claimed that there isn’t enough support for female playwrights.
She said: “If you look at the West End, if you look at the programming – not even the West End! Anywhere in the world, if you look at the programming. It’s only a fraction that’s female.
“But actually we’re discovering more and more women that have written things that you could just put on – let’s see what that’s about.”
One Good Night was performed at The King’s Arms by a production group for the project, Scripts Aloud.
Manchester ADP, who host the fortnightly Scripts Aloud, “Select new writing for each show (usually four short plays or extracts) and produce them, script in hand, for writers to receive feedback from our audience and the creative team.”
Scripts Aloud takes place every fortnight and tickets can be purchased online.
Featured Image Credit: Mark Russell