“I told my mum I was going on an R.E. trip” – Review

“Standby!, 3…2…1…play”.

Recording the experiences of women who have experienced pregnancy and abortion, this production is outstandingly riveting, truthful and creative.

Created and directed by Julia Samuels, the production is inspired by the stories of real women. Samuels draws upon over 50 interviews with women from diverse backgrounds. Projected are the voices of young women, doctors and campaigners. Promoting inclusion, the voices of men are not excluded from the conversation.

This is an open conversation which draws lines between and across the field of the abortion debate. With the stage acting as a confessional space, provided is an opportunity to challenge taboos and explore stigmas.

A unique set, arranged across the stage were 4 white podium-like white under-lit boxes. Organised across the boxes – which resembled buttons of a device or gadget – was the play’s ensemble, its all-female cast.

Upon the button like box, the 4 females capture experiences and retell stories of Tanaya, Paige, Leah and Cousin. Unrestricted and open, the females also step outside their characters, using other voices and accents, also adopting other roles.

They move within, between and across the boxes, exploring all sides of the sensitive subject matter. The play explores the impact that religion, reputation, politics, age and unhealthy relationships have on pregnancy and abortion.

Tanaya opened the conversation, speaking of criticism, it was “like I’d murdered my nan”. Throughout, the females conversed with each other and presented truths to the audience. Different spaces were recreated upon the 4 stages – the audience shifted between waiting rooms, clinics and interview sessions.

Throughout the play, light underneath the white stages acts as an under-light to the conversation.

Where girl-talk was aired at the edge of the button-like arrangement, the lights turned pink. When the females adopted boyish mannerisms to share male views, the under-light and backlight turned blue.

Also incorporated was spoken word, shared upon soulfully-arranged instrumentals.

The production cleverly ‘plays’ a story which women cannot tell. They will soon find the courage to say “maybe I will”.

TNT Arts & Culture Trishuana Stewart

Photo Credit: Contact

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