Emma Mary Hall : Ode to Man


Emma Mary Hall has an agenda driven by disrespected lust and devotion; a cause characterised more by malicious venting than education. Discourteous and aware of it, Hall is unflinching in her disgust of the breed that’s plundered her of so much.
Yes I am talking about men and yes I may have been better off spending my Saturday night cosying up to a hot girl at a bar or slandering her for saying no. Hall would’ve said that to my face and I being a stereotypical 21st century male would’ve run away from it, caving under her bullying anvil.
An intimate white-walled chamber accommodated Hall’s debut performance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – a residence as much for confrontation as for practicality. Picture oscillating projections, 5ft rectangular blocks and an enthusiastic female chauvinist bouncing around in a five by five-metre space.
It was vital the audience understood the meaning of an ode and why it sat so willingly in the title, Ode to Man. Revered male bards Walt Whitman and Robert Burns enlisted it is a poem to commemorate a passing and Hall was certainly glad she’d uncovered it. Positioning the traditional man as a pillar of strength gave her more leverage to attack and so she did – introducing prehistoric principles and Latin adages to exult the male status but only for a moment.
A performance so philosophically abundant it was tough to keep up but loosing traction allowed you to thrive in Hall’s stage technicality. Like a blown up piece of gum reaching its precipice, Hall voiced through rapid-fire alliteration or guileful satire when the bubble had burst. Amongst all the clutter and barnstorming, moments of her basic hormonal yearnings resurfaced – the male beard her weakness.
Governed by the voice of Satan, it was an annihilation from a woman who’s been hurt but showed enough infirmity to leave the door ajar. A dim voyage to expose the dark realities but certainly not the avenue for a light-hearted chuckle.
By Tom Parker