Domestic Labour: A Study in Love, the 30 bird Productions’ visual theatre peace, welcomed the packed Cambridge Junction’s audience with a series of beautiful images. “How cool” screamed my inner voice as the three actresses posed with vacuum cleaners as heavy war weapons. The text, voiced by the actresses and a recording of a man, recalled things being left behind and ordered, just to be left behind again and to be ordered again. It was so clever, so beautifully structured. I fancied the first staccato repetitions looping the three women and the vacuum cleaners together to tell us a story of love. Then, just as my thoughts started to emerge from their world to consider my lack of love for cleaning and washing, I was struck by the cleverly engineered bike meets vacuum cleaner, freedom meets girl image. However, as the dust particles settled, image by image, loop by loop the show gained a laborious quality.
Why so laborious? Let me say that I do not see theatre as purely a form of entertainment, and I am willing to work. Yet the show was a first draft of a study: a rather clever attempt crammed with masses of academic theory trying to do too much. The Iranian revolution, material culture and feminism, technology and feminism, domestic labour, women’s roles, a love story were all themes that seemingly cried for my brain’s attention. In this quest, I missed that men’s relationship to feminism were crucial part of the study and that there was no apparent war being waged. It is a pity, I would have loved to know more about a man’s perspective. All in all, the show for me was a beautifully wrapped but unfinished study which confirmed my endless fascination with war stories.