It’s Not Rocket Science at theSpace@Surgeons’ Hall is presented by Nottingham New Theatre, England’s only fully student-run theatre venue. It’s a charming and challenging exploration of the ongoing battles girls face when making decisions about what to study and throughout their careers when faced with male domination and the glass ceiling.
a charming and challenging exploration of the ongoing battles girls face
Written and directed by Cecilia Alexander the story follows Eve as she grows up. Her childhood fascination with space and rockets leads to studying physics at school where she soon realises that as a young woman she will have to work far harder and be more pushy than any boy if she wants her voice to be heard. She has to do this at university, during the interview in front of an all white male panel and every day in her job. She even has to contend with women who have succumbed to male expectations and just go with the flow. By now, all of this is well known, but it is backed up in this play by verbatim recordings from over twenty female aerospace professionals from around the world in a subtle piece of epic theatre that presents the daily reality of life in a man's world. What we see and hear is an amalgamation of their stories quoted both directly and indirectly within the production.
Eve goes on to be a mother, another full time job she combines with her professional career, as women have to do, and has a daughter. It leaves the lingering question as to whether life will be any easier for the next generation and the extent to which women will still have to fight for a voice at the table.
One of the many joys of this piece is the calm, analytical and, dare one say, scientific way in which the material is presented. The evidence is laid out and presented in a story that develops logically and sensitively. There’s no screaming, ranting or chanting of the message and that makes it all the more powerful, especially when combined with the moments of humour. India Agravat, as Eve, matures in front of us and she captures the essence of each age in her delivery, making the process of growing up and facing life’s challenges entirely credible. Caitie Pardoe and Kishan Ganatra respectively, multi-role in female and male parts. They create a galaxy of characters that are recognisable and idiosyncratic even in the short space of time each one exists.
This team possesses considerable talent spread across writing, direction and performance. They should indeed reach for the stars in developing further works of this quality.