SIT! (Or I’ll Make You Sit)
30 May – 4 June 2022
General Content Warnings
Strong course language, sexual references, references to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, coercion, gaslighting and entrapment.
Artist Statement and Content Warning for Sit! (Or I’ll Make You Sit) by Morgan Owen
With SIT! (Or I’ll Make You Sit), I set out to write a dark comedy that took my experiences with power, entrapment and coercion, along with conversations being had on a global level, and make them accessible and digestible.
I wanted to examine the ways that we wield and yield to power, especially when it concerns the people closest to us. I became interested in what happens when someone deep down wants to be taken hostage, physically or emotionally, as this is a situation I’ve found myself in before. I wanted to interrogate my own patterns of willingly absconding my agency in order to cope with a world that offers no clear vision of the future.
Some of the events depicted or referred to are extreme situations that, for most of us, are far removed from our reality. That being said, the situations explored do occur, perhaps more often that you would think, and for this reason I have consulted a Psychologist who has an extensive history working with people who have experienced varying degrees of abuse and trauma to ensure that I am dealing with the material in a safe and considered way.
Satire as a form undermines the dominant narrative. For a play interrogating ideas of power, freedom, and coercion we believe there is no better style for this urgent discussion to take. Such a difficult conversation is best sweetened by laughter. SIT! uses comedy to help us move beyond defensiveness and didacticism, leaving us open for growth and listening. Laughter is transformative and holds the power to make us feel less alone, and given the past two years I believe there’s nothing more important than to make people feel a little less alone.
I would once again like to emphasise that it is a dark comedy and acknowledge that the content may still be confronting or triggering for some. The intention of the SIT! is to entertain but also to challenge audiences, to start a conversation around our collective experiences and conceptions of power and the way it’s abused. We want to make sure that audiences are feeling safe, supported and heard in this conversation.
The play has multiple twists and reveals, and for that reason we believe the best way to view it is spoiler free.
However, we understand that for some audience members, having this information before choosing to buy tickets or just having an awareness of coming next, may make their experience more comfortable and enjoyable. If that sounds like you, please keep reading and we will outline some of more more sensitive content along with the surprises.
The Break-up Scene
Set almost a year before the main action of the play, this is a break up between the characters of Blair and Dom. In response to being broken up with Dom threatens suicide: ‘If you make me leave I’ll die and that’s on you’
Set almost a year after the main action of the play, this is a first date scene between Ainsley and someone they met online. This scene contains references to financial extortion and abuse as well as explicit language and sexual references.
The Dinner Scene – Part 1
This scene establishes itself as a dinner party, hosted by Blair and Ainsley. We enter as they chat and prepare for their guest to arrive. The guest is Dom, Blair’s ex who is also a man. This is what we attribute the tension in the scene to.
In this scene we discover that Ainsley has been receiving abusive instagram messages which are briefly discussed: the messages state “i know where you live”, “no one can stop what’s coming for you”, “i can see you”.
At the end of this awkward scene, full of tension and bickering, Ainsley excuses herself to the bathroom and the audience is given the first major reveal:
When they were together, Blair faked an apocalypse and kept Dom in a basement for six months. They lived there together while she kept up the fantasy that the world had ended.
Chekhov the dog – Part 1
We are introduced to the character of Chekhov, Ainsley’s dog. They’ve been in love with Ainsley for years, unbeknownst to her and they are determined to finally win her over.
In this monologue they make references to pissing on things as a way to mark their territory and to make Blair (they’re rival) feel uncomfortable.
This is a split scene where Ainsley and Blair are being interviewed for an online article and Dom talks to his therapist.
This scene contains references to depression and trauma generally, but it is implied that Dom’s trauma is a result of living in a basement for six months.
Blair and Dom make a deal
In this scene we see an ‘accidental’ meeting between the two exes. This scene makes reference to their past and is full of coercive and gaslighting language. This scene also contains blackmail and financial extortion.
The Dinner Scene – Part 2
This very short scene reveals that Ainsley already knew about Dom and Blair’s past including details about the basement.
In this scene we go back in time to a week before the dinner. We see a conversation between Dom and Ainsley in which Ainsley learns about what Blair did to him. Throughout the scene Ainsley, despite being a lawyer who has made her career off supporting survivors of abuse, uses classic victim blaming language: ‘Why didn’t you go to the police’. The two of them come up with a plan to extort Blair for damages.
The Dinner Scene – Part 3
In this final scene we see everyone’s secrets exposed. This is, for the most part, a comedic scene where we see a bickering couple throwing jabs and retorts back at one another, but obviously the content of those conversations is far from lighthearted. There are accusations and gaslighting rhetoric from Blair. She states that Dom knew it was fake the whole time, it was a role-play that was never discussed explicitly but there’s no way someone could be naive enough to think it was real. She uses gender against him, vying for Ainsley’s support, saying that surely if Dom actually wanted to leave he could have, physically there was no possibility of her stopping him.
It is divulged that when they were in the basement they ate dog food and used a bucket as a toilet.
Dom finally gets his moment to speak openly about how that experience in the basement, the trauma he is still living and how he doesn’t think he’ll be able to move past it. This is more or less dismissed.
Ainsley doesn’t do much to condemn Blair, instead she hears about Dom’s experience, how he had his agency taken away from him, had no money, no purpose and no concept of a future, and decides that maybe she wants that for herself.
She is sick of making a million decisions a day, sick of the pressure of her job, from a world that is moving to fast and she propositions Blair to take control of every facet of her life.
When Blair refuses, Dom puts up his hand and Blair leaves.
Chekhov, feeling helpless and betrayed tires to leave but can’t. They realise that Ainsley owns them, they’re unable to do anything for themselves and are emotionally and physically kept in the house.
We see Blair and Dom living together, leading a very mundane existence apart from the fact that Ainsley is now completely under Dom’s influence. What he says goes. But in a dark, absurd way… She’s happy.