A few drinks on a night out, a walk home in the dark, alone, a man’s voice calling out from the shadows – or catcalling, to be precise.
The events leading to the fateful night Sophia Capasso describes in her one-woman show Void will be familiar to many young women in today’s club culture.
In an age of Brock Turner and victim blaming, she is skilled in unravelling what it takes for a victim – a “human being” – to become a “monster”.
Capasso creates convincing exchanges between rape victim Ali and the authorities by adopting the voices of a brusque male police officer, her dismissive mother and an insensitive, patronising therapist, more concerned with feeding her drugs than treating her.
She offers very little detail of the rape itself, stopping herself when she recalls her abuser’s hands on her throat. But it’s there in everything she doesn’t say.
When Capasso focuses on the details after the assault – the 94-bus passing outside, the tap dripping, the sound of her tears falling – she is at her most gripping. When she reaches inside her trousers and feels blood, she uses the silence to prolong the painfully intimate moment.
For such a messy and distressing subject matter, Capasso’s performance at times feels too polished, her outbursts too well-timed.
In the absence of a set design, lighting is used to great effect. Director and technical designer Bruce Webb casts a bloody wash across the damp and dripping brickwork during Ali’s session with her therapist, cleverly suggesting the trauma she is unable to escape.
When Capasso directly addresses the audience and asks us to question our morbid interest in the details of her assault, the binary of human being and monster becomes even more blurred.