(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 6/18.)

This gruelling adaptation of Louise O’Neill’s novel is alarming for good reason

Asking for It ★★★★
Everyman Theatre, Cork  

Emma O’Donovan, a fifth-year schoolgirl with brittle self-esteem, has become accustomed to seeing herself through a cascade of images. She is a model of beauty picked over by a neurotic mother; the “queen bee” of her Cork school, admired by an audience of lusty boys and resentful girlfriends; a social media darling who is even a billboard model, a dream to be possessed.

At a pivotal moment in Louise O’Neill’s sensational 2015 novel, Asking For It, however, Emma looks at a stream of degrading, dehumanising images, widely shared online, and does not recognise herself. “She is an It,” Emma says of the figure, the victim of a gang rape. “She is a thing.”

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