Hear Me Howl
Caley Powell of Lights Down Productions
Old Red Lion Theatre
Jess is approaching her thirtieth birthday and reflecting uneasily on the state of her life which she says consists of working and sleeping. But when the unexpected results of a smear test reveal she is pregnant, she is faced with the possibility of becoming a parent.
In a lively, seventy-minute monologue that is often amusing but always sensitive to the issues, Jess (Alice Pitt-Carter) describes the responses of herself and others to the news and her uncertainties.
Her best friend Stacey, a banker with a plush nest just waiting for offspring, warns her of the dangers of going over the fertility cliff, something Jess ruefully notes isn’t the same for men who don’t sit around worrying about their depleting sperm count.
Even before the news, her partner Tej had casually suggested they skip the getting married thing and get on with the having kids part. So no surprise, “he says he wants the little guy and taps my spleen.”
But Jess wonders how she could possibly have a child while she lives in “a basement smelling of blue cheese,” and notices some poor woman walking from the shops trying to carry twenty bags and a child. She is also disconcerted when her manager at work, who doesn’t know she is pregnant, jokes about not wanting her if she was pregnant—only joking of course!
Then out of the blue comes a chance to join a post-punk band and, if they can accept her despite her lack of ability, then maybe she could make a good parent. But it is going to her first ever political protest, where she feels her own power to shape the world, that she also feels able to make a confident choice about what she wants to do about the pregnancy.
And that is the positive, important point of the play. Women should be supported in making a choice about what happens to their own bodies.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna