Chickenshed’s latest online release during the second lockdown period is the emotive drama ‘In the Absence of Silence’. The cast of five discuss their experiences of living at the hands of their abusers. The drama has been written and directed by survivors of domestic abuse which was created as part of Chickenshed’s outreach project called Survivors.
Characteristics in the way in which an abuser manipulates and controls their victim are explored through the conversations, while the five ladies enjoy some respite and a day on the beach. Throughout the entire performance, Lizzie’s (Louise Perry) perpetrator is constantly bombarding her with text messages which become increasingly verbally abusive and finish by degrading her, calling her a host of derogatory names.
Shirley (Elsie Lyons) has an air surrounding her of almost being untouchable. The abhorrent behaviour that she was subjected to over the years by her husband has created a hard exterior. Allowing you to believe that she had been unaffected. One of the common traits found in a survivor after suffering years of abuse.
I found the scene in which the perpetrators use the court’s system to continue their control and abuse to be somewhat farcical. However, I felt it was done in this style to break up the intensity of the subject matter. Although for me I am still in two minds about it and I am unsure whether I felt it was in keeping with the rest of the performance.
One word of advice never question why a victim of domestic abuse didn’t leave their abuser. Leaving an abuser isn’t straightforward and for a vast amount of victims, this isn’t the end of the abuse as their perpetrators become desperate to hold onto the control they have held over their victim. Trying absolutely anything they can to retain it.
If you have ever wondered how abuse begins and then continues worsen then watching productions like this gives a comprehensive understanding and insight. Exploring the gas lighting effects, how easily the emotional and physical outbursts can be started and the level in which a victim blames themselves for what is going on.
Due to the subject matter, strong language and themes of violence that run throughout the performance. This is not suitable for anyone under the age of fifteen.
In the Absence of Silence was co-produced with Creu Cymru and developed with the Domestic Abuse Services in South Gwynedd.
Lauren … Jojo Morrall
Lizzie … Louise Perry
Kell … Holly Skinner
Shirley … Elsie Lyons
Sandra … Charlotte Bull