Everyone wants a friendly lecturer, but these first years were lost for words after their Drama lecturer screened a bizarre video of her vagina.
Actress and PhD student, Lauren Barri-Holstein, unexpectedly upped the shock factor when, as part of an introductory presentation, she displayed a video clip from her recent production Splat!.
The graphic clip is described by Lauren as “feminist performance art concerned with the female body”, but it unabashedly exposes a lot more than her feminist values.
The intimate performance shows her inserting a knife handle into her vagina and throwing garish red tomatoes at the blade, giving birth to a small, plastic Bambi figurine, and blowing a condom out of her vagina – all to a background of Happy by Leona Lewis and Poison by Nicole Scherzinger.
Lauren, creator of theatre company The Famous, said the work of art is relevant to her teaching module, Theatre and its Others, and terrified freshers by screening it in the first lecture back after Christmas.
Apparently aimed at highlighting how theatre can incorporate intertextual references and dance, viewers were less concerned with her witty fairytale allegories, and more stuck on the fact they had unintentionally got up close and personal with their lecturer’s condom-boasting vagina and paint-spattered breasts, all bouncing around with pride in 10 times their original size.
The video also shows scenes where Lauren urinates on stage, dangles naked and gyrating from a harness on the ceiling, and even simulates masturbating with a tampon, spraying what appears to be blood directly onto a fellow actress’s face.
One scarred Drama student told The Tab: “It was surreal. I honestly didn’t know how to react.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look her in the eye in person, it’s just weird.
“It’s not even the fact we saw her lady parts, it’s the fact I literally have no idea how the clip was in any way related to this module.
“It was just so extreme and I don’t understand why it was in any way necessary.”
But another fresher holds a more sympathetic approach.
They said: “I understand her credo is to actively gross out the audience and challenge us, which does actually make sense.
“She’s really passionate about exposing our socially engrained expectations, so I’m going to suspend my judgement and wait until I get to know her better as a teacher.”
A second year, and fan of Lauren, added: “She’s amazing. Don’t be scared off by how open she is.
“Splat! is shocking and all, but it’s not completely without reason.
“When it comes down to it, she’s invaluable to work with on the module and really helps people when they need a push in the right direction.”
Tab art critic Matt McDonald said: “The trope of the female nude is as old as art itself.
“Barri-Holstein’s performance is the latest of many pieces which show us something about the genesis of humanity.
“In some ways, it’s a profound Madonna and Child work. In others, it’s a leftie with her rat out.”
Lauren Barri-Holstein declined an interview about this story.