The struggle of one woman to become a mother is the painful, but ultimately uplifting subject of this touchingly honest autobiographical study from Californian performance artist, Jillian Lauren. With visual screens as her backdrop, Lauren portrays several characters to paint a portrait of the meaning of motherhood in the modern world, making out that, even with today’s fast-paced, materialistic lifestyles, parenthood gives her the unique grounding that keeps her going.
Amongst suffocating girlfriends who are either ‘pregnant or can’t find a partner to save their lives’, Lauren, who herself was adopted, tried almost everything to conceive. From changing diets, to acupuncture, and witch doctors to Maori ceremonies that charge hundreds of dollars, she surveys an industry that feeds off women’s misfortune. But this is not a cheerless show, and Lauren’s comic timing and ability to voice different, ebullient characters in her story do her credit: there’s an irritating but strangely enchanting hip-hop loving teenager in LA; a middle-class mother who makes parenting videos for youtube (gratingly entitled ‘Insane in the Mum brain’); and a drug addict forced to give away her child against her will.
As the idea of adoption is broached towards the play’s close, the show seems to come full circle, but the subject of adoption from overseas seems to leave a discussion hanging in the balance. Still, Lauren’s journey is a fascinating one delivered with verve.