Sit! Or I’ll Make You Sit gives a satirical insight into attachment in a slightly unconventional manifestation.
Exploring attachment though the forms of polyamory and kink, writer Morgan Owen demonstrates her comedic brilliance and makes these topics less confrontational than they often tend to be. The narrative unravels free from chronological restraints as it follows the relationships between a couple, one of their exes, and a dog.
The balance of light and shade is maintained well throughout the show. The story centres around a dinner at Ainsley’s house with her partner Blair and Blair’s ex, Dom. Ainsley invites Dom to dinner to attempt to uncover Blair’s dark history with Dom.
There is an effortless chemistry between the actors, however the dog (Alicia Osyka) stole the show for me. As the canine character progresses from comedian into incel, Osyka’s background in improv makes the slip into darkness a predictable yet entertaining scenario.
The depth of the dog as a character was unexpected, as the aloofness towards Blair, and the contemptuous attitude towards Dom, the male in the house, effortlessly demonstrates the pet’s protective and jealous side.
The dialogue, a language only understood by the audience, shows the dog to be a surprisingly cogitative being. It’s impressive how Osyka’s performance makes a dog character so human, yet simultaneously easy to guess what breed of dog it might be. Outside of the comedic monologues, it’s almost as if the dog is goggle boxing the play with the audience.
The humans discuss power and relationship dynamics through the lens of attachment. The witty discourse quickly grabs the audience’s attention, lulling them into a sense of security with laughter before exploring the themes a little deeper.
SIT! (OR I’ll Make You Sit) Photography by Nicolee Fox
The pacing of the story strikes a perfect balance between the rapid-fire dominant writing and leaving space for the viewer to soak up all the imagery and sound. The synth sounds between each scene, created by Kieran Gulvin, are reminiscent of 1990s and early naughties screen productions gently nudging the viewers along to the next scene. It makes the scenes familiar and comfortable, allowing the expectations of the characters to break down and challenge the audience’s stereotypical assumptions.
Lighting designer Adelaide Harney enhances the minimalist set design using overhead lighting to craft an effortless distinction between settings; instead of relying on props or set design to fulfill that task.
The emotionally charged setting pulls in common social scripts we use in discussions of polyamory; however, those tropes don’t limit the story or bore the viewers. The cleverness of Owen’s writing comes out in how the power dynamics manifest in the characters’ actions, rather than their words about the topic. You’ll have to watch the show yourself to see what those dynamics are.
One power dynamic I will share was the refreshing representation of a male victim. The choice to gender flip these characters gave it an ironic depth, with a male who fits the stereotype of emotional reservation. It’s surprisingly relatable watching the man learn to talk about his feelings, even using lines from movies to express himself.
SIT!’S story arc feels particularly poignant with recent discourse around domestic violence elicited by a certain prominent court case. The show’s subject matter was guided by a psychologist consulting on the script. I commend the effortless integration of generic yet taboo experiences like this among the spicy subjects of kink and polyamory. I thoroughly enjoyed all these elements coming together in a realist setting with the comfort of comedy to ease the uninitiated viewers into the world of power play and polyamory.