An exploration of the fear and pain suffered by women who are trapped in violent relationships.

"For women all over the world this is not a story. It is real life"


Badac Theatre Company's new production "Cage" aims to highlight the pain and suffering that is endured by a growing number of women, from all sections of our society, at the hands of their partners or husbands.

The play explores the different types of violence involved in abusive relationships, including:

1. Physical Violence
2. Psychological Abuse
3. Verbal Abuse

It aims to allow an audience the freedom to experience the brutality of such relationships and their effect on the whole family.

As in previous Badac productions the actors are given a freedom to explore the full ferocity of the violence involved. In Cage this is done by using an animal carcass as the recipient of the majority of the violence, thus allowing the actors the opportunity of giving full vent to their rage without the restraints imposed by stage fighting or other forms of theatrical violence.

Using this technique allows the audience to see face on the physical and mental struggle of a victim who is subjected to such extreme violence.

Cage does not try to explain why domestic violence occurs, the aim of the piece is to show that domestic violence is a form of torture and that involved within that torture is immense suffering and pain.

Everyday within our society thousands upon thousands of women have to endure this torture at the hands of their partners, the very least we can offer such women is an attempt, in some small way, to understand their pain.

back to top

Cage is the story of three people. A family. Mum, dad and daughter.

We follow the story of these three individuals through the memories of the child, Mary. Now an adult she recounts to us, through an interviewer, what she remembers about her mother and fathers violent relationship.

Through her memories we see the different levels and types of violence her mother endured at the hands of her father.

We watch as the mother battles to keep her family together. Whilst suffering random physical abuse and daily mental abuse. As the intensity of the violence increases we see a women simply struggling to survive, whilst her daughter, Mary, recalls to us the ways as a child she used to block out the noise of the beatings.

What we see unfold is a family that increasingly becomes ruled by fear and violence.

"For women all over the world this is not a story. It is real life"

back to top

General Statistics

Of all crimes reported to the British Crime Survey 2000 more than 1 in 20 were classified as domestic violence.

·Domestic violence accounts for almost a quarter (23%) of all violent crime.

In 1999 37% of women homicide victims were killed by present or former partners, compared to 6% of men. This totals 92 women, 1 every 3 days, or 2 women per week.

Women are at greatest risk of homicide at the point of separation or after leaving a violent partner.

It is estimated that one in four women will experience domestic violence at some time in their lives.

Domestic violence often continues and may escalate in severity after separation.

We also know that violence against women and children knows no boundaries of culture, age, sexual preference, body ability, class, ethnicity or creed.

1 in 5 young men and 1 in 10 young women think that abuse or violence against women is acceptable.

Repeat victimization is common. More than half of all victims of domestic violence are involved in more than one incident. No other type of crime has a rate of repeat victimization as high.

On average a women will be assaulted by her partner or ex partner 35 times before reporting it to the police.

Domestic violence is the least likely violent crime to be reported to the police. The British Crime Survey 2000 found that just under 1/3 of incidents were reported.

Every minute in the UK , police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence. This leads to police receiving 1,300 calls each day or over 570,000 each year.

In any one-day nearly 7,000 women and children are sheltering from violence in refuges in the United Kingdom .

An estimated 19,910 women and 28,520 children stayed in refuges in England in the year ending 31 March 1998 .

On the "Day to Count" 200 women asked for safe refuge in England (nearly 300 in the UK ) and could not be accommodated in already full refuges.

Over 35,000 women called the Women's Aid National Domestic Violence Helpline in 2000.

Nearly 1 in 5 counselling sessions held in Relate Centres in England on 28/9/00 mentioned domestic violence as an issue in the marriage. In Northern Ireland this rose to over 1 in 5.

back to top
Nominated - The Stage Award for Best Ensemble
Winner - The Stage Award for Best Actress

The Stage - * * * *

A horrifying tale of spousal abuse and its unpredictable effect on a child is given an intensely and unrelentingly powerful production by this courageous and inventive young company. The physical violence, which is almost uninterrupted, is presented entirely symbolically, though in a way that is almost as terrible as the real thing. But the play's real horrors lie in its depiction of the psychological destruction of all three people involved.

An obviously near-insane husband repeatedly beats his wife, whose only refuge is a religious faith that assures her God must have some purpose in this suffering. Hearing this, their daughter tries to will her father back into the loving Daddy she wants so much to love. But the play's most shocking insight is that the child's real emotional struggle is to resist the temptation of contempt for her mother.

Steve Lambert stages the piece so that the three actors almost never relate directly to each other, which makes it even more remarkable that they not only synchronise their actions but sustain an equally high level of almost unbearable emotional intensity. Lambert's portrayal of a man clearly so threatened that he must destroy to feel secure is matched by Emma Christer's heartbreaking portrait of a soul-destroyed victim. But it is Saskia Schuck as the child unable to stop what is happening and horrified by her own emotional responses to it whose characterisation and torment embody all the play's horrors.

Three Weeks * * * *

The Metro - * * * *

Achieving genuinely moving, but utterly shocking theatre is a delicate art.

Generally, when a play sets out to shock, the result is cheap sensationalism or desperate attention seeking, with no substance to validate its extremism.

London-based political theatre company Badac never shies from controversial subject matter and has previously covered the Holocaust and human rights violations. Here it tackles domestic violence head-on and produces something unforgettably powerful. Under the direction of Steve Lambert, a magnificent cast explores the complicated cycle of abuse, guilt and denial binding together a dysfunctional family of three.

The graphically violent beating and slicing of a pig carcass onstage almost caused the show to be banned by animal rights activists. An additional rape scene, full female nudity and constant screaming of c and f words creates a deliberately distressing atmosphere. Be warned; this is unrelentingly harrowing stuff. But conveying the paralysing fear and mental torture suffered by female victims was never going to make for easy watching.

Through the salty tears and snot, the play drives its message into the audience's heart, where it stays long after the drained cast have dragged themselves offstage.

A brave and intelligent achievement.

British Theatre Guide - * * * *

The cage of the title is a dysfunctional family in which dad beats mum but cherishes daughter and daughter is torn in half by the situation. It is an incredibly violent piece with the savage beatings been carried out on a pig's carcass hanging centre stage, with mother reacting. The daughter (played with extreme anguish by Saskia Schuck) never looks at the others but sits facing the audience throughout. In fact, most of the time all three characters face the audience, except what father is beating the mother and she is writhing on the ground. Physical contact - but not eye contact - is only made when father takes mother from behind.

This is a relentless, painful piece. The words are delivered with as much violence as the action and the audience was stunned at the end. Someone did try to applaud, but it tailed away and we left the theatre in total silence.

In his programme note, Steve Lambert (who not only wrote the piece but directed and played the father) explains that Badac's aim is to try to find the essence of the violence which is "as vital to the human existence as the air we breathe".

In this they succeed. Cage is harrowing, brutal and intensely painful. Not only is its depiction of the violence graphic, so is its exploration of the psyche of both abuser and abused. And the violence is not only physical: the daughter, supposedly the father's "princess", is as abused as the mother, but in her case the abuse is emotional and spiritual.

You will certainly not find a play which is more emotionally demanding - even draining - on the Fringe this year.
Peter Lathan

The List * * * *
back to top

CAGE has just completed a run at the
Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2005. Scroll down to see some of our reviews.

CAGE will next be performing at
The Battersea Arts Centre as part of the October Fest

back to top
Please contact Badac Theatre for all booking enquiries
back to top