The Revlon Girl, a classic that will survive
06 October, 2017
• SIPORA Levy’s review of The Revlon Girl (September 29) rightly focuses on the relevance of the play to the theme of contemporary social injustice and the arrogant neglect of the powerless.
However, the reason it deserves to be “a classic of modern theatre”, as she rightly says, is because it taps into the archetypal situation of the bereaved woman, which has antecedents in Greek epic and tragedy, notably The Trojan Women.
The play has the structure of a Greek chorus of multiple voices united in a common experience, with the outsider, the Revlon representative, like the single actor responding to the chorus in a format that echoes the origin of drama in choral speech.
Also, there is a powerful use of symbolism in what is not just “a clever set” but a deployment of contrasting symbols: the poverty of Aberfan shown by the dripping roof in the room recalls the tip that collapsed because of the underlying water; while the action of cosmetic beautification implies the hope of regeneration from the tragedy of loss.
Yes, it’s a great play, and its literary qualities will ensure its survival when the historical context on which it draws is a distant memory.
ROBERT B TODD