I went to see Louise O'Neill's 'Asking For It' last night and you should too
This piece was originally written on June 12, 2018, but, as the show opens tonight in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin for 14 nights - I remind you why you need to clear your calendar and book a ticket.
Maybe I was asking for it?
Last night you could hear a pin drop in The Everyman Theatre, Cork, as a packed audience sat in utter silence, disbelief and heartbreak for Louise O'Neill's powerful stage adaptation of her bestselling book Asking For It.
The stage production which is directed by Annabelle Comyn and co-produced by The Everyman and Landmark, follows the story of a young girl in a small town in Co. Cork when life is changed forever after she is sexually assaulted by a group of local boys.
Feeling like a 'slut', like a 'whore', the young girl, Emma O'Donovan's mind becomes numb and sponge-like to what others believe and what others perceive to be true. Was I actually asking for it? Was it because I dress provocatively? Was it because I was initiated flirting? The show depicts so many aspects of teenage life in a small town in Ireland from the "it lads" who feel invincible due to their skill in sport and popularity to how social media can tarnish your life with one bad picture and the speed at which it can spread through a school, through a community and rip you to pieces, leaving you feeling like fragments of a once whole person lying on the floor.
Asking For It also turns a light to the parents and their struggle to come to terms with what is happening. With sex being a taboo subject and the need to have a "pristine" family image in the community a necessity, it shows Emma's parents in a true and crushing light. These are the things we don't see behind closed doors, the turmoil, the despair, the wish that it never happened, the "why me", the "what next", the endless wait until trial, the victimisation and the confusion of parents who don't know where to turn or what to believe.
Asking For It invites you inside the home, inside the mind of a family where sexual assault and rape has not just affected one member of their family but the entire unit. How similar this story is to recent events reported in Irish news gives you a harrowing insight as to how this book wasn't based on a prediction of what could happen but on the facts on what keeps happening again and again and again.
Asking For It features an incredibly talented cast of young actors who portray discomfiting similarities to real life and tell the story of one girl, who is many girls and how her life, their lives are ultimately torn apart.
Asking For It takes to the Abbey Theatre, Dublin from Friday, November 9 to Saturday, November 24. You can book tickets online here.
This show is a must-see and one I will not stop talking or thinking about for a very long time.