A new generation enters and with these three cheeky characters played by Sabrina Martin, Sarah Tuck and George Fenn we are made to experience a new sensation; laughter. Their background is Kazoos, bursts of music and speech that consists of complete gibberish. Their exploration is through play and fun, and there are golden moments of hilarious interactions between them. We relax into the safety of the children’s play and enjoy as they explore things that are different, or the same, things that feel good and things that they like. They explore as children with no boundaries or rules, but with the freedom to choose what they wish. A giant version of a wooden spoon tries to interject an opinion with random outbursts of “naughty”, trying to place controls around their actions. There is a peculiar yet hilarious chase scene as the characters begin to define their identities and an object is found but not understood. Does the object bring death or life? This is explored with humour, as is the theme of how powerful the role is that women have to play in creation.
Each group of performers is unique and brings a new point of view. This next group is the now generation of exploration, it’s real, unrelenting, unwilling to be censored, full of questions and a need to seek approval. They start by again weaving the magic of the safe space, this time by asking us questions that we answer by raising our hand. Honesty is required and participation is encouraged; a freeing experience as we raise our hands in celebration and in pride of ourselves. This section is the one that most connects with me on an emotional level. As the performers Rosie Cann, Hannah Kelly, Donald James and Kelly Moen take us through many situations in their lives, we experience their fear, pain, rejection, heartache and desires. They act out how we learn to take care of ourselves both physically and emotionally as they explore those key moments in everyone's lives. From the way we dance to our first kiss, from adults to children and back again; scenes are heartbreakingly familiar to everyone.They are fighting for something they believe is worth fighting for, such as feminism “not fighting to be able, because they’ve always been able… but fighting to be allowed,” again exploring that theme of permission. They are fighting just to be alright “Breathe… You’re ok… I know it hurts” Cann says as she explores heartache with a conversation with her past self. It’s a conversation acted in heart wrenching, exacting detail, so familiar to me that I shed a tear at the words. Powerful stuff is that other running theme I have not yet mentioned: Love. “I want to fall in love again” she says as the others join in with their hopes, desires and dreams. These explorations of wants are what forms a person, each desire achieved is an exploration of yourself and the performers desires build into a cacophony of sounds until the roar of unfulfilled dreams is too loud to make any singular voice out. Next is a literal spotlight on the way we bend to achieve approval. The performers ask for our approval and direction, we the audience suddenly find ourselves with a great responsibility and our reactions vary. Some thrive under the pressure to give instructions whereas others want to hide from the desperate approval seeking, feeling unqualified to give any kind of opinion of what could make them better.
As the theatrical experience comes to a close it does so with an exploration of permission using audience interaction. Yes is the word we feel trained to say and No is a much harder word to use. However, today the word No is a word of power and it’s No that brings the show to a close.
From creation to exploration, A Stage of One's Own was a powerful statement of female discovery. Through a journey of many experiences we explore and become who we are and decide who we want to be. With the right permission, not from just others but from ourselves, what kind of life could we achieve? With any luck it would be a life as full of a perfect balance of pain and fun, love and heartbreak, dirtiness and beauty; as this theatrical production was. A beautifully designed show with a powerful message for women; thought provoking and challenging yet in a way that leaves you feeling refreshed and inspired.