In Event of Moone Disaster
Babies are on everybody’s mind in Andrew Thompson’s play In Event of Moone Disaster.
The men want to know where the babies come from and to bond with them to create a family.
The women know where the babies come from but really wish they weren’t around so they could get on with their lives. If only those broody men would stop pestering them about babies.
It’s a modern dilemma. The old gender stereotypes should be dead. Women are no longer simply baby-making machines. They can have ambitions and dreams of a future open to all regardless of gender. That’s the way the modern world sees it, so no more baby chains to limit women’s lives.
But hold on, is that really the way it is?
Not according to Andrew Thompson’s play, which gives us three generations of women whose choices in life do not look all that different.
In 1969 as men were landing on the moon, Sylvia Moone (Rosie Wyatt) in her northern town is yearning for a life that is wider than her tame boyfriend Dennis (Thomas Pickles) and a baby in tow.
Becoming pregnant, she refuses to acknowledge him as the father, rebuffing him with jokes such as “an orgasm is like an apology. You never get one from a man.”
She wants something more in her life and he just doesn’t get it.
By 2017, her child Neil Moone (Will Norris) is trying to find out whom his father is and also wants a child. His partner Julie (Alicya Eyo) is not so keen. She regards it as something that will hold her back in life.
When she does have a child, Sylvia (Rosie Wyatt), they send her to America where they believe she can have a better chance of fulfilling herself.
By 2055, Sylvia has been chosen to be the first person to reach Mars. But it is at a cost. She is cold, driven, prickly and constantly monitored to ensure she is not biologically likely to have a child that might get in the way of the corporate plans for space.
As she says in response to a question from a doctor (Dar Dash) about children, “what’s it matter anyhow, I’m going to Mars. The radiation’s gonna make me infertile. And delightfully cancerous. I’m off to conquer a barren world. And be barren while I’m doing it.”
A well-acted, gentle romantic comedy; the show wears its pessimistic vision lightly. Women need better choices; men need to show better understanding and the private corporations should be better controlled.
Until then, we can all see this show where some of the audience can imagine it an affectionate riff on an old idea of dysfunctional women disrupting the natural order of family life while others regard it as a thoughtful call for women’s emancipation from debilitating stereotypes.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna