For our latest interview, we sat down with A Womb of One’s OwnÂ director, Holly Bond, and playwright, Claire Rammelkamp. Here’s what they shared with us about the production.
What are three things that inspired you to create this production?
Holly:Â When I first read the script I was in hysterics. I kept telling my other friends how funny it was, so there was an excitement so get it on its feet straight away. Our aim as a company is to talk about difficult subjects so âA Wombâ was perfect in that it talked about abortion in such a funny and personal way, its not preachy at all, and its such an important issue right now. So I guess it was the time, place and a great script.
Claire:Â First and foremost, my abortion. It was quite a significant moment in my life and writing the play had helped me to process it. Secondly, thinking about what it must be like to be alone during an abortion. I was lucky enough to have the support of my mum and my friends, but so many women don’t feel comfortable telling others. This play is an exploration of what facing the journey alone would feel like.Â Thirdly, my fabulous band of women who make up our theatre company. They are a constant reminder of female strength and working with them to create a show about the importance of women controlling their own bodies was so empowering.
What puts the âdarkâ in your âcomedyâ?
H:Â It’s the story of a girl who has an abortion. Its going to be dark. She’s alone, drinking, smoking etc. We don’t hide from the hard stuff. But its a hopeful and I think overall a positive view of abortion.
C:Â The play deals with grief, religious uncertainty, isolation, pain… lots of nasty things which need to be laughed at sometimes in order to be overcome.
When performing with such controversial and sensitive topics as abortion, religion, and sexuality, what defines the line between âpowerfulâ and âtoo farâ for you?
H:Â It all comes from the audience. We had to drop jokes we thought were too far, but that only comes from what we have noticed in performance. But saying that, its different every time we perform. Somethings seem too far to one crowd or pretty comfortable to another crowd. There are some things we keep in the play even though it doesnât quite land, but we want to add in some things that are uncomfortable. So its not really about âa lineâ but what is necessary to what we trying to say and what is overkill.
C:Â We enjoyed being irreverent with this production. We’re all about exploding taboos, and talking about sensitive issues is really important. All the big themes we’ve looked at are shown through the perspective of a young woman who is going through a really hard time, so hopefully the audience will be able to empathise even if they disagree with her beliefs.
Why do you think the small theatre setting of the Space adds to this production?
H:Â Talking about abortion in an old church is a thrill! The ceiling and the windows really add to the atmosphere. Small theatres are great, its more intimate.
C:Â The fact that it’s in an old religious building adds a lot. During rehearsals the other day, I was saying a line about God, and the high church ceiling made me feel how powerful an influence religion is in the life of our main character.
What was your process like? Was there a primary creative or was it a collaborative effort?
H:Â We each have our roles, but its definitely more collaborative than anything. As director I make a lot of choices and often take final decision on stuff, but I would never make those decisions if I didn’t know what our collective idea was. There’s a lot of talking involved.
C:Â I wrote the script originally as a 15 minute play, which we expanded into an hour-long production. We did a lot of exercises to bring out the different facets of Babygirl’s character, and gradually we all crept into her skin and really started to physically embody her. It’s quite a physical play. I even play a bus at one point.
The play boasts an absurd cast of characters â who is your favourite character and why?
H:Â Ahh so hard, it has to be Grandmamie. She’s just great and Claire does the face so well.
C:Â Aside from the bus? I’m very fond of Great Aunt Mildred. She’s based on an anecdote my girlfriend told me about her real-life crazy Irish aunt who once smashed a ship-in-a-bottle over her husband’s head. When my girlfriend did an impression of her saying ‘DON’T WORK WITH COMPUTERS’ I nearly wet myself. I had to put that in the play.