Twickenham-based writer takes production to London's East End

By Jen Tucker

9th Oct 2023 | Public Notices

'Marriage hath many acts,

And marriage placed upon a stage for all the world to see

Gains new scenes in retrospect.'

Inspired by the events of and around the Depp v Heard Defamation lawsuit, The Defamation by Jen Tucker visualises an afterlife where a woman's fate is decided by trial. But something is rotten in this court. When Charity, loosely based on Heard herself, arrives in the afterlife and encounters several of Shakespeare's heroines, the true injustice of the court is revealed as patterns begin to emerge. Written in blank verse and combining past and present in a thought-provoking collision, The Defamation explores the treatment of women in the legal arena in the 17th and 21st centuries alike.

The production is the inaugural adventure for Itchy Feet Theatre Ltd, a nomadic production company recently founded by Twickenham-based writer and director Jen Tucker. The company hopes to continue performing around the Greater London area, and will dedicate itself to platforming queer artists and promoting non-traditional work which questions the world it portrays. Tucker comments on the production:

'I wrote The Defamation during an exam period during which I was writing about Amber Heard for a Language and Feminism module, as well as Hermione from The Winter's Tale for an Early Modern Drama module. It struck me how linguistically and thematically similar these women's experiences were in the legal and domestic spheres, and I felt compelled to write a play where these women could coexist. I feel passionately about placing real female conversations onstage and demonstrating the beauty of genuine female friendships, which is something I don't feel we see often enough.

I think we're at a turning point as an online society in terms of how much we believe dominant discourses we see online. I want The Defamation to encourage people to think for themselves about women like Amber Heard who've become online pariahs; for me, the play's feminist impulse comes purely from its insistence to view women as people who can be flawed and deserving of respect at the same time.'

The play was first performed at Nottingham New Theatre in December 2022. The sold-out production received positive reviews and audience feedback:

'Jen Tucker is an exceptionally talented writer…she continues to be a brilliantly promising writer and director.' – Impact Magazine

'The Defamation brings the struggles of Shakespeare's women to the forefront, exploring the trials of womanhood in a remarkably literal sense.' – Audience Review

The Defamation will be performed at Applecart Arts, E6 1BX, from the 1st-4th November at 7.45pm. Tickets can be found here.

The Defamation's 2023 production features a cast and team of recent graduates and early-career artists. Itchy Feet Theatre hopes to continue creating ground-breaking work with early-career theatre makers; contact the company on Instagram at @itchyfeettheatre with any enquiries!


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