by Nadia Cavelle
Tabard Theatre, August 2015
A playful and thought-provoking dramedy exploring the world of sex-work through the lens of a female friendship.
BRUISES looks at the vast themes of sexuality, identity and feminism through the lens of
a female friendship in an attempt to demystify the still hugely misunderstood worlds of sex work and mental health.
Lights open on Damien, an otherworldly figure, who both partakes in and comments on the action of the play from a vantage point that is at once deeply human and disturbingly voyeuristic. Referring to himself as a “warmth digger”, he monologues about what led him to become a sex worker and the challenges of his profession.
We then meet fallen gymnast Banana and sex worker Jackie, who have been best friends for ten years. Both have struggled to move forward in life, but things are about to change. Banana embarks on a relationship for the first time and moves in with high-flying lawyer Justin Case. Meanwhile, Jackie joins an elite escorting agency, headed up by socialite pimp Mona, who gives her a new name and an “education”.
As the close bond they once had begins to disintegrate, confronting the aftermath of their choices in the light of traumatic past experiences soon becomes more challenging than expected.
Cast Kirsty Rider, Eva-Jane Willis, Michael Edwards, Lily Knight, James Barnes, Toby Rolt
Playwright Nadia Cavelle
Director Jean-Claude Fall
Producer Ben Weaver-Hincks
Designer Anna Reid
"Bruises takes a brave and candid look at a sex worker [...] With its literary overtones, its fearlessness in asking questions and its mature voice, Cavelle’s venture into the underbelly of society is all the more remarkable for being her debut play.”
Female Arts ★★★★★
"Bruises tackles an important issue head-on with intelligence, poetry and humor. It is a fascinating story, beautifully told, and a pertinent comment on what current social mores are doing to our bodies and, more importantly, our souls. Bruises is a thoroughly impressive debut play by Nadia Cavelle who deserves to be a major voice in 21st century theatre writing."
"In this impressive debut, playwright Nadia Cavelle sets out to discuss the sex trade without either “victimizing or empowering” sex workers. As a philosophical discussion, Bruises makes a significant contribution.”
Remote Goat ★★★★
“Cavelle did not shy away from difficult topics, and guided the audience on a non-judgmental trail through the unravelling of the story. ... Bruises was a very brave and mature debut and hold out the promise that Cavelle’s voice will be heard on many stages in the future.”
The Swiss Cultural Fund UK
"A fresh, new piece of writing about a lesser talked about aspect of society, but one which deserves much more discussion. And what better voice than this with an impressive script and cast.”
Thrifty Theatre Thinker ★★★★
"Bruises is an ambitious piece, seeking to cast a non-judgmental eye on the highly divisive topic of sex work. ... There is so much to admire in this play, which I believe makes a valuable contribution to a deeply sensitive dialogue. As a piece of moral philosophy, Bruises excels, unpicking questions of identity as its characters stare into the existential void."
British Theatre ★★★