My reaction to Machinal at the Almeida Theatre made me want to drag myself off to the naughty step to think about what I'd done - or rather what I hadn't done.
Instead, I had just felt cold and annoyed with the central character.
As a feminist this made me feel like a fraud. Am I a fraud?
Is it my problem?
Should I be looking over my shoulder expecting to have my credentials ripped up? Is the problem mine or is it the play?
On paper, Machinal ticks a lot of boxes - a play about a Young Woman (Emily Berrington) trapped within the constraints of a patriarchal society and driven empty and then murderous by it when she finally gets a taste of a different life.
The young woman initially appears overwrought, highly strung, unravelling and my heart sank.
How many historical plays with lead female characters portray them as close to hysteria or having some sort of breakdown?
I'm thinking: 'Can't we explore feminist themes with a character that doesn't play up to the patriarchal stereotype of female emotional and mental fragility?'