“Apologising is an excellent survival strategy on this side of the ocean. You can do anything you want, say sorry, and you’ll be okay. Starting wars in distant nations, stealing Islands on the Argentinian coast, financing slave plantations in the Caribbean, just say sorry and guess what? Consequences? You don’t have to live with them.”
A series of disastrous “romantic” encounters offer insights into the way migrant women’s bodies are exoticised, sexualised and even targeted as easy prey by random passersby. How do relationships and power dynamics between countries and cultures shape our responses to one another and find their way into the bedroom? In “Uncensored”, Gaël Le Cornec offers a darkly witty glimpse into the challenges of seeking intimacy while foreign.
***WARNING: Contains swearing and scenes of sexual nature
Find out more about Gaël here
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Written and performed by: Gaël Le Cornec
Producing Artistic Director: Lara Parmiani
Concept: Emmanuela Lia
Director: Becka McFadden
Visual Art: Laura Rouzet
Website design: Daiva Dominyka
Social media: Catharina Conte
Original Music: Angelina Rud & Martin Bakero
Things I’m Not is funded by Arts Council England.
Based on true anecdotes
Notes: sentences in (parenthesis) indicate the protagonist’s internal thoughts. Sentences in “inverted commas” indicate the men’s lines.
[SFX: in the background, voices of people talking in a bar]
If I had a penny for everytime I heard: Ah, you’re from Brazil… Samba, football, caipirinha! (hm-hm) Quite a violent country, no? But you have like carnival all year round! Sunshine, Brazilian wax, glitter! And nature. Monkeys, iguanas, beaches... biquinis - Do you ever work? ( Ai... sinceramente) Are they all as hot as you? Exotic? Sexy?!
“Go on, teach me some Brazilian, yeah.”
“And Smile, love, smile.”
(What’s his problem?)
"With teeth," says Harry, while showing his fangs… with… (wait... short black… little things glued round his mouth? Bad shave? Lice? or pussy hair?)
“I thought you Latin Americans were like happy,” he says.
(ah… The eternal Latin Americanjoy like we don’t have anything other to do than rejoice in cheerfulness.) We are happy, when there is a reason to be.
“Come on, love, life is beautiful”
(I don’t need your philosophy, pube mouth).
“And love,you’re beautiful when you smile.”
he says while his fat fingers touch the corners of my mouth and bring them up into a grin. (Burning sensation, a tempest starts, I feel I’m going to…)
Listen, Pubic Harry, I’m on my period, my homeland is burning, and my country’s president is a megalomaniac fascist narcissist - I have no reasons to... fucking smile.
This was a Prologue, by the way. /
[SFX: Music starts - British pop song plays]
I’m in a park. [ SFX park ambient]
Okay, It was actually a cemetery used as a picnic hotspot in Summer, which in England lasts… (two days?)
Summer, so I’m laying on my front in a pretty dress, reading a book and (did someone just say something?).
I turn and see this pimpled nosey young man in sunglasses staring at what seems to be my...
“ nice bum”
(did he really say that?) That’s an unusual thing to say to someone you don’t know.
“Ah, yeah, I’m cheeky like that”
(you are, now get out of here)
“Can I touch it?”
(He’s got a lot of nerve) are you referring to…
“your bum, yeah. Lovely shape”
(the guy has no boundaries!) Who are you?
“Call me Jo,”(he says with a twinkle in the corner of his left eye, which just inflates my irritation.) Tell me something, Jo: can I cut your balls off?
“oh aggressive hey. Chill, girl, chill.”
( he had an accent. I couldn’t identify from where. I’m foreign.) I’m actually chilled, Jo. But… I’m Amazonian… my ancestors used to grab their enemies by the balls, slowly drain the blood out of them so they could play (go fetch...) with wild pigs.
He goes silent, I feel the urge to further explain: “of course that was after stir-frying the balls in their own spit”.
(silence number 2 disrupted by a:) “That’s so hot”.
(I learned the only way a small 5 foot 5 Brazilian can protect herself against an idiot is by taking no shit.) ASSHOLE. (Everybody turns to us. Even the squirrels.)
I know, I know, misogyny & harassment are not a specific country’s problem. I’m in a Facebook Female only group, and the number of women from the so-called “leader of the free world America” pledging support is higher than from anywhere else in the world. Most are latinas, like me.I read in an article somewhere that there are more harassment cases towards women of colour in the U.S. What about the UK, hm? I’m just trying to have a healthy sex life after what happened.
No, I didn’t sleep with “Pubic Harry” or... “Pimpled Butt face” , but I decided to do it with James, a posh, pale, and I suspect, quite rich man.
( why didn’t he book the superior room?)
“Oh sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.”
It’s quite okay, James.
“Excuse-me. Oh Sorry. I mean, excuse-me, can I… touch your breasts now?”
(my top is off so...what do you think?)
“Excuse me, would it be a good moment to lift your skirt?” “Sorry, I think I’m taking your panties off. ” “May I open your legs now?” ( this is so brochante! How do you say that in English? Bro-chan-te? Like when your vagina is all smiley and wet then suddenly goes dry like a desert because of what the other person said. If you have a penis, just imagine the penis going down.)
“Uh, sorry, I should check first”, and places an index between my labias.” (hm...that's kind of sweet…) “Give me a second.” (Finger not moving. Temperature check? Pregnancy worry? What is this?)
I think I can go inside now.
(you think? ).
‘’Oh you should uh.. Before I uh...Maybe you hold me and take me into your... “
(just do it, James)
“into your… inside your, uh...”
GET ON WITH IT JAMES. (oops, sounded louder than I expected)
“Oh yes, sure. Okay, then. Ah-aaaah.”
Me: Hm (Trying to give my best performance while being fucked by England). Hm... Hm? (Eyes closed? “Feeling it”? I’m screwed.)Tik-tok, tik-tok, tik-tok, tik-tok, tik-tok [alarm goes off]
59 seconds. (All that prep for a wishy-washy minute?)
James, I feel robbed.
And finally I understood why I hear “sorry” 25 times a day. Apologising is the main survival strategy on this side of the ocean. You can do anything you want: start wars in distant nations, steal islands on the Argentinian coast, finance slave plantations in the Caribbean, just say “sorry” and consequences? You don’t have to live with them. You and your descendants… will be fine.
I know, I know not all men in England are like that, not all have the “We owned the world” politeness. No, some are a bit more sensitive… in a way.
First time I got skin to skin with Dustin….
“Call me Dusty”
It was like I was lying naked on the grass. He was hairy, and sweaty, and very very... tall - my face fitted perfectly into his twin sweaty puffs of chest hair. One has to adapt to the circumstances.
We are on a sofa on fire, me and “Lusty Dusty”: I’m pinching his nipples, he’s licking my ear wax, and out of the blue… Beat. He whispered in Portuguese. Beat. Quite unusual. Beat. “Put it all, put it all in, shorty”, that’s what he said.
(Only one other person used to say that: Xuxa Meneguel, porn actress turned Children’s TV presenter - stuff that only happens in Latin America - probably, his Brazilian ex, to make him feel better about his height, would sex him up by saying:
“Enfia mais, baixinho.”
(No way I’m saying that)
“I deserve it. I deserve it”
(That’s not from a Children’s TV show)
“I want to feel it.”
(We are not there yet)
“The suffering, the carnage”
What are you talking about?
“Come on, take revenge on me” he says opening up his bag, overturning a collection of toys on the bed.... “ It’s our fault. My fault, my fault”
( How do I calm him down...eh...Cucumber? Rabbit dildo?).
“Please, choose any”
(I froze with a wooden spoon in my hand.)
In a desperate attempt he asks me if I’d be more comfortable in an animal role playing
( I was a jungle native after all)
“You can be a male jaguar” - he says and starts making loud terrified bird sounds.
(How do I get out of here???): I’M NOT... YOUR SEX WHORE! (Like that.) This is not pre-coital-post-colonial-post-pre-coitolonial sex therapy! Beat. (I’m pure Latin drama.)
Sex can’t heal anyone. I came here to run away from my own past. I hope that one day I can maybe find... love. Will I ever really find it? Real love? Or will it always be… fetishised? Um objeto pra passar a mão, um pedaço de carne, um corpo inerte? Me explica, como que eu posso encontrar o amor hm? ….
Oh. I’m speaking in Portuguese, you can’t understand. That 's how I felt when I first moved here. Now you know the feeling….
We make assumptions without knowing who people are, what wounds they’re healing from….
Maybe Dustin, James, Joseph and Harry are damaged... in their own way.
We never know what a person carries inside.
I typed up my story on the Facebook Female survivors group.
Maybe finally today I have the courage to press share.
I wrote this:
It was all messy, quick, blurry.
I turned up at his house
and two of his mates were there.
I didn’t know how to stop it.
I didn’t know…
Maybe this is not an ending.