The Dollhouse Inside: Cassandra and The Boy Doll
Determining one’s place in the world is often difficult, especially when the core determinant of feeling truly human is fighting to find a solid and personally truthful identity.
Cassandra and the Boy Doll is an intimate and somewhat confronting performance piece directed by Artemis Green and written by Miranda Sparks, staring Maddy Parkinson as the eponymous Cassandra alongside Joseph Wilson as The Boy Doll and presented by Magnetic North Theatre Company.
The story follows Cassandra, through her transitional journey towards becoming the person she feels so immeasurably strongly to be and to cast off the world and society’s expectation of her to be the man she was borne into being as. In order to find her true self, she must confront The Boy Doll, the living manifestation of her imposed male identity, and come to terms with the cruel apathetic world that is so appalled by anything deviating from the basest idea of a norm and ignorant of anything beyond the cardboard box built around femininity and masculinity.
Throughout the performance, the personifications of these perceived societal norm watchdogs are portrayed by the exceptionally talented ensemble cast of Ecks, Ebony Webb, and Brodie Shelley, all of whom play their parts in the production spectacularly well. Hitting notes of subjugation to their extremes, of demonization, and ghosting of the trans and non-binary communities and individuals, and the toxicity of gender-roles pushed on the community as an obligation towards acceptance.
Movement and monologue were the storytelling devices used within the piece and both became symbolic and poetic forms of reflective life within the performance to such an extent, that there was a sense of uneasy confusion that lingered beyond the final moments.
As effective as the performance is, in and of itself, it would be for naught if there were not some thought-change that occurred beyond the curtain call. The writing and performance are but stepping stones on the pathway towards what lies beyond mere acceptance of the importance of identity; understanding.