Abuse often comes shrouded in code. It comes in signs. Physical marks and distress, eyes that won’t meet yours, garbled speech, a sort of radical shrinking. There’s the less obvious, mental iterations. Rapid and sudden introversion, anxiety, depression: another sort of radical diminishing.
How is Uncle John? is the show that deals with these codes. It’s a duologue dealing with sex as power and economic capital. It’s a show dealing with sex trafficking. Even more particularly it’s a show dealing with a mother and daughter attempting to discuss- allusively, brokenly- the shattering effects of its aftermath and trying to piece together something approaching a new start.
“Uncle John” is a code and a sign. It’s a safe-phrase, used so Hope (the daughter) can alert her mother to danger. Even with all of its generic masculinity, it is an incantation that can’t banish away male violence. Anxiety permeates the whole tone and mood. There’s a mother's evident and obvious anxiety. There’s the anxiety of the vulnerable, exploited Hope. And there’s the pressing anxiety that no simple safe code can expel a world of violence meted out to the vulnerable. It’s a dramatic microcosm of the ‘real’ world, one in which the use of sex, force and power rule, and the shattered lives of the weak stand as testimony. (FG)
How Is Uncle John? played at Assembly Hall - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/how-is-uncle-john
Modern Slavery in the UK- http://www.unseenuk.org/
Understanding the Language of Narcissistic Abuse- http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/10/understanding-the-language-of-narcissistic-abuse/
Threatened Child (Extract)- https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=8VIg9STL-wUC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=the+rhetoric+of+abuse&ots=KFwjjP6uwF&sig=k76qR5vNR9QzvZj6KEb6j90ytcc#v=onepage&q=the%20rhetoric%20of%20abuse&f=false
Trafficking Survivor Stories- http://www.equalitynow.org/campaigns/trafficking-survivor-stories