Little Shop of Horrendous Options for Women

Everyday, our society looks just a tad different for women. Day by day, we don't notice these little changes. However, jumping back in time and getting a glance at everyday life, it is easy to observe the massive differences. I know, you're thinking, when do we get to leap back decades in order to look at life truly as it was? Well, theatre does just that. 

 

Lately, I have been working run crew on VCU's production of Little Shop of Horrors and therefore been able to watch the differences in society firsthand.This show takes place in a florist shop in a run-down neighborhood during the 1960's. There are two employees, the dorky Seymour and the lovely Audrey. This show follows what happens as fame comes to the little shop, especially to its Seymour, upon the discovery of a new plant species. However, this species of flytrap only eats a certain thing: blood. 

Audrey first enters the show with a black eye covering the majority of one side of her face. This is the audience's introduction to her and introduction to the handy work of her rebel boyfriend Orin the dentist. As the show goes on, we find out that this shiner is nothing out of the ordinary, and she proceeds to be put in a cast and slapped throughout the show. Regardless of Orin's awful treatment, she is still responding to him with "yes, Doctor" and "sorry, Doctor." Even once he dies, she feels it necessary to add "Doctor" on to anything she says about him. Moreover, once he is dead she actually feels terrible, like it was her fault because she wished he would die, even though she had nothing to do with it. Audrey's big song, "Somewhere that's Green," is her sole dream of living in a suburb where everything is perfect and everyone is exactly the same. Later on, as Audrey is on the brink of death, she tells Seymour that she wants him to do awful things to her as long as it would make him happy.

Audrey is a lovely, lovely character with her sweet demeanor and constant kindness regardless of how others treat her. In this show, Audrey is the only leading lady. Her wish of a row of house looking precisely the same enclosed by a perfect picket fence with a particular bedtime of 9:15, shows all women used to be able to dream of and hope to actually obtain. That precise life is all that Audrey could hope for, or so she was told. Even that little, quaint life, she didn't think she deserved.

Now, women have a whole lot more options of what they can do with their lives. Moreover, they are not merely expected to submit to a man's authority. These may seem like little changes on paper but in actuality, they are massive. I think the differences are a lot more blatant when you watch them unfold right in front of you. It is paramount that we recognize these changes, all changes, no matter how small as successes on the road to a more equal, fair society.

 

One thing that is still the same with women today, is the feeling of not being deserving. There are a myriad of movements to remind women of their worth and try to teach them to love themselves. Regardless, this is still an arduous process. Now, it is almost inscribed in our DNA to question whether we can deem ourselves acceptable or worthy.

 

Self-admiration is the next change I want to see in our society. Hopefully in fifty years a girl will be able to watch a play from 2018 and be astonished by the fact that women used to not consider themselves worthy.

 

As the world continues to progress, I hope theatre continues to remind us of all we gained while also demonstrating all the work we have to do. 

 

Photo credits: VCU Theatre