Collective Rage: Anger, sex and “theat-ah” 🥊
Genesis Lynea speaks to DIVA about starring in Jen Silverman's outrageous new comedy
In Collective Rage, the lives of five very different New York women named Betty collide at the intersection of anger, sex and “theat-ah”. As they meet, fall in love, rehearse, revel and rage, they realise that they’ve been stuck reading the same scripts for far too long. DIVA caught up with the Genesis Lynea, who plays "Betty Number 5", to find out more...
DIVA: Hello Genesis! First off, how would you describe Collective Rage in your own words?
GENESIS: It’s a play of five Bettys! Everyone's called Betty, and they're all extreme versions of what women look like or could be. The way that you identify yourself, your job, where you live and how you talk and how you see things and what you do. In the play, all of that collides and causes them to have “collective rage”. It’s a melting pot of anger, sexuality and theatre!
Had you come across Jen Silverman's work before?
No, not at all. So when I read the script I was like, "Wow! Who is this? This is great!” It’s her comedic timing - I never really laugh out loud, but this was just really, really funny. I think humour allows us to explore taboo subjects and territory that's uncomfortable in every day settings, and Collective Rage is just a really thought-provoking piece that rejects the stereotypes of what queer is. It brings attention to the fact that you can have fluidity no matter how you identify. At the end of the day, we're all just people.
Was that what drew you to the project?
I really loved the character “Betty 5”. I felt like she was quite similar to me actually. She identifies as a somewhat stereotypical butch, queer, lesbian who runs a gym and has just come out of prison, has short hair, you know, aggressively dressed [laughing]. And, in the play, she has a moment where she's just vulnerable and honest, and when I read that I thought, “I can really connect to that”. She speaks in her own terminology, but I think anyone can understand what she's trying to say.
What do you hope people will take away from the play?
I want them to be open and to be receptive, to see that we all live in the same world and the same society, we just need to listen to each other. We need to be openminded and really try to include and understand where people are coming from, and how they live and be okay with that. We also need to be okay with the fact that you may not know how someone identifies, and it's okay to get it wrong sometimes so long as you try to understand. Also, not to believe in stereotypes, if someone's seen as butch, it doesn't mean they're angry or going to hurt you, or only use strap-ons!
Is breaking down stereotypes important in Collective Rage?
Stuff like that is definitely getting subverted. It’s saying that people are just people and it doesn't matter what shape or size or format they come in, they are still just people functioning with a heart and a skeleton, clothes and a job. It’s thinking about gender and sexuality and questioning the constructs that we’ve created.
In the promo video for Collective Rage you’re boxing, have you boxed before?
Yeah, I've been boxing before, I have lots of friends who are boxers and I frigging love it! I said to Charlie the Director, I wish the budget allowed that I could have a session every night just to really get into character and that frame of mind, and also to look good and convince people that I am actually a boxer - even though I'd probably be featherweight!
You mentioned your girlfriend, actress Amie Atkinson earlier, are you working together at the moment?
We are! Amie is in Six - the other show I’m in. She's Catherine Howard and I'm Anne of Cleeves, who were actually friends back in the day so that's quite funny! We met on In The Heights at Kings Cross Theatre a year ago. She was Daniella, and I was Yolanda, so it's quite cool that we get to work together, it's very rare that you get to work with your partner.
And how is it working together?
It's fine! I think because we met in that environment anyway, it wasn't too much of a jump. It's actually nice that we work together and get to be silly on stage together, you know? It’s cool.
Anything else on Collective Rage?
It's just really, really funny - ridiculously funny. And DIVA readers should definitely go and see it!
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