Photography by Romany Whittall with permission for Varsity

Content Note: mention of blood, trauma, and murder in relation to the play

Many people have felt the sharp sting of injustice in the world but not everyone has done something about it. And certainly not to the extreme lengths of the women of Hooded, who turn to vigilantism in order to force tech billionaire Brian Henry to distribute his wealth among his underpaid workers. You are immediately plunged into the action with Ariel Hebditch’s piece of new writing. The play begins with a hooded figure writhing on the floor, and two women speechless, and in slight disbelief over the act they have just committed.

“You are immediately plunged into the action with Ariel Hebditch’s piece of new writing”

Brian Henry, the tech billionaire played by Macsen Llewelyn, robs himself of any sympathy when once his hood is removed and he runs from scared to snide as the young women are revealed to him. But Robyn, Leigh and Sophie, played respectively by Kitty Liu, Fuschia Webb and Lizzie Banner, all hold their own against him. No big backstory is offered in regards to the character of Brian, and none is needed. This is not his story. The set was minimalist, a choice that put the emphasis on the characters and dialogue and was helped by the fact that the entire cast worked well together, the friction between the women and Brian as believable as the intimacy between the three women. There were times where it felt as though the characters were disconnected, but the moments of intimacy and connection when they hit, hit hard.

For a play that begins with such high stakes there are moments that don’t feel as tense as they should. But the play gained momentum and by the end of it I was genuinely on the edge of my seat. A breathtaking moment in the play was Sophie’s monologue, a summit of sorts for the character. When Brian attempts to endear himself to Sophie by telling her she reminds him of his own daughter, she answers with a harrowing monologue that dissects why she is nothing like his daughter. “Did her mother have to cut her own umbilical cord with a box cutter? Was she found in a pool of her own blood because her supervisor came to yell at her for taking too long on a lunch break?” This was a sobering moment that brought to light all the themes that made a piece such as this one so relevant and necessary. The gender gap, the wealth gap, power plays, patriarchy. Collective female anger has gotten so much good press lately as a galvanizing force for political change that it is jolting to be reminded how ugly it can turn.

“With female narratives slowly on the rise, there is no shortage of subject matter to address”

There is room for further exploration had it been a longer play. Insight into all of the character’s motivations would not have been remiss, but for an hour-long performance it found its beats beautifully. The performances, like the pacing, had their moments where it felt as though the actors needed some extra momentum. When Fuschia Web’s Leigh began her monologue, I didn’t quite believe in the character, but as she gained traction, I found myself truly believing she was capable of committing murder. Leigh’s razor-precise and spot-on attacks on the pervasive upper echelons of society surrounding her, and smothering her were perfectly developed.


Mountain View

Green An unapologetically Singaporean production

With female narratives slowly on the rise, there is no shortage of subject matter to address. The play leans verbally on wealth and social gaps with the gender gap keenly felt rather than stated, a choice that elevated the piece. A wonderful piece of new writing, this play is a good hour spent for anyone who needs time away from their revision.

Hooded by Ariel Hebditch is playing at the Corpus Playroom at 7:00pm between 10-14 May