A Girl and a Gun stars Him and Her. Her is played by Louise Orwin, writer and creator. Him is played by a different man every night. His lines and stage instructions are fed to him in real time via an autocue, and the words projected onto the back of the stage. Two cameras also project the action onto the back screen from two different angles.
So begins Orwin’s dissection of the fetishization of violence towards women in cinema. She designs her characters with cult films in mind: she dances to Tarantino soundtracks, he plays with guns like sex toys in a reference to Spring Breakers, she speaks with a Southern belle twang, he adopts a Clint Eastwood-style accent. Every cue is specifically engineered to call forth an array of films and tropes that we enjoy and cast them into a more investigative light. Orwin herself has admitted to being equally fascinated and disgusted by these violent portrayals, and A Girl and a Gun plays up on this contrast well. The use of cameras puts the audience in a voyeuristic situation, and makes us implicit in the violence as it happens. The ever-changing male actor also implies a cycle of repetition in cinema, referencing the fact that the man might change but the story and the attitude never does.
The concept for this piece of performance art is strong, and in moments, extremely effective. However, at times it feels a little bloated, and some drawn out sequences don’t really pull their weight. An intriguing feminist study nonetheless, A Girl and a Gun just needs to be distilled a little further to achieve its full concentrated impact.
Words: Chiara Margiotta
A Girl and a Gun, Summerhall, Aug 2-27 (not 3, 7, 14, 21), 6pm