A Womb of One’s Own, starts as it intends to go on – with a title that is both aptly punny and referential to the feminist literary cannon. This original piece is a one woman show performed by four women, which details the peaks and troughs of a fresher’s journey through her own sexuality.
The portrayal of Babygirl via four actors reveals the inner monologue of a young woman on the verge of adulthood, desperately trying to navigate the sexual politics of university. All giving great performances, the four actors use screaming, ranting and babbling excitedly in unison which executes the scattered anxious mind of a teenager. Babygirl isn’t the demure chaste young woman that the patriarchal society wishes to portray, but rather demonstrates the complexities and sometimes unattractive desperate desire that exists. She shows women’s sexuality for what it really is: messy.
Each demonstrates the many facets and ever-changing moods of the sexually frustrated young woman. Carla Garratt excellently depicts the orgasmic masturbation scenes and masterfully impersonates the ‘fuckboi’ when the need arises. Claire Rammelkamp appears most comfortable in Babygirl’s skin – partly as it is her script – but also because she emits the excitable naïve energy that exudes from Baby girl as she determinedly pursues the task of removing her virginal status. Oliva Early was most likely chosen to present the more sensitive side of Babygirl as her tears feel so real they break through the moments of humour, quickly turning the corners of the smiles of the audience. Her counterparts shock and rebuttal when her sadness bubbles to the surface, denoting the stifling refusal of Babygirl to process her own grief. Danica Corns’ expressive facial features show the confusion over Babygirl’s predicament. The selection of each part reflects seamlessly the varying aspects of her personality, acting together as one to create the fully realised multi-dimensional character that is Babygirl.
Rarely is abortion shown with equal parts despair and humour. A Womb of One’s Own, highlights the traumatising nature of the red tape required for the common procedure. It is also the waiting which torments the patient. Cat Hawthorn’s lightning illuminates this fear, with the emanating cold bright glow from the screen of the laptop that Babygirl tortures herself with scouring the internet and stumbling across the doctored images on Pro-Life sites. The lighting for the most part is warm, as we are inside Babygirl’s mind, bedroom, and her womb.
Much like the title, the script is hilarious and referential. But unlike the nod to the 20thcentury author, the dialogue is very much of its time. As it uses the language of an eager, bright eyed fresher whilst cynically mimicking the almond milk flat-white drinking stereotype of the Goldsmiths student it represents. You don’t have to have a womb to enjoy Claire Rammelkamp as its relatability comes from its fast wit and raw emotional moments.
It does as the title suggests, humorously addressing issues of feminism still largely untouched by mainstream media, despite the fact that abortion is a procedure of which 1 in 3 women in the UK have undergone. The play is reflective and original in its orchestration of sex and love, as well as highlighting the infuriating bureaucracy involved in what should be a relatively effortless procedure due to its commonality. Thereby demonstrating the prejudice against abortion played out on an institutional level.
Wonderbox is a feminist art collective, of which A Womb of One’s Own is its debut production. Their next brilliantly titled show, FFS (A Feminist Fable Series), promises to be just as funny and relatable as the last, as it explores moments which make women go ‘oh FFS!’, showing at the Space from 5th– 9thMarch.
Words, Billie Walker @queen.feta
Images, Wonderbox Production