Sexual assault and the criminal justice system: The naked female body in Breach Theatre’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent years have seen a spate of plays focused on the workings of the criminal justice system dealing with sexual assault. One of the most dramaturgically innovative plays is Breach Theatre’s devised play It’s True, It’s True, It’s True (2018), which stages the trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi. The main characters are performed by three women actors who swap the secondary roles between them; Ellice Stevens plays the role of Artemisia as well as that of (male) judge, lawyer, and witness for Tassi. Stevens’ performance queers and destabilizes the limited role assigned to the ‘female victim’ in the criminal trial. The court system demands that the sexually assaulted female body act as a stable point of absolute truth; It’s True refuses this script. Stevens’ multi-roling, frequently nearly naked performance destabilizes the limited role assigned to the ‘female victim’ in the criminal trial, re-emphasizing the naked female body as capable of signifying in multiple creative and autonomous ways beyond the invitation to the sexual, or as a passive, instrumentalized object which must bare an objective ‘truth’ of sexual activity to the enquirer’s intrusive gaze.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDramaturgy of Sex on Stage in Contemporary Theatre
EditorsKate Mulley
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter15
Pages112-116
Number of pages5
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781003159933
ISBN (Print)9780367748661
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024

Publication series

NameFocus on Dramaturgy
PublisherRoutledge

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