Changes in body, personality, identity, relationships. Experiences preparing for childbirth, experiences during and after childbirth. The futility of hoping to be "prepared enough" for something that is uniquely chaotic for every individual who goes through it. And what happens when a struggling mother feels like she's going to snap?
Written and performed by Liz Skitch, the show is a series of monologues and stories about motherhood. Some of these monologues are Skitch's own stories, others are audio recordings of stories from other mothers. The show is a bizarre but skillfully stitched together mix of honest stories, innovative and absurd props, impeccably designed sound and light effects, and a commendable physical performance that ties all the elements of the show together.
The show begins with vegemite sandwiches and a raffle - an unusual way to start a show, but it gives you time to take in the set and the performer's vibe, and it prepares you for an interactive experience. Then you're introduced to a live chicken (yes, you read that right): a fine supporting actor to Skitch for the duration of the performance, although its main involvement is limited to the first monologue. The chicken certainly does its job in preparing the audience for the slew of crazy props and metaphors that will be unveiled as the show goes on. Believe it or not, the live chicken is outdone in craziness by a ball, a balloon, a big mouth billy bass (a singing fish toy), a broomstick and a bunch of pumpkins. (You will never forget the pumpkins. Ever.)
Any show that tries to combine Kafka with motherhood is bound to be dramatic and absurd. There's a lot in this show that is over the top and patently in it for shock value. But it mostly works. The show manages to squeeze sweetness, relatability, shock, authenticity, comedy, boldness (including nudity), horror, performance skill and impact into 70 minutes of true stories. Some parts of the show may have been a little bit hit-and-miss, but the performance was generally engaging and endearing throughout.
On the whole, this show is a bit of a cautionary tale about motherhood: once you've watched it, you can't say nobody warned you it would be like this.
A note about the venue: due to the tragic fire at La Mama Theatre in May, this show is being performed at Trades Hall in Carlton. Trades Hall is currently undergoing renovations and is unfortunately not an accessible venue for this performance. Additionally, it is advisable to arrive early for the performance - once the doors are closed it may not be possible to gain entry and you may need to contact La Mama to move your tickets to another date.