'Everywoman' at VAULT Festival

Anything you want done, baby, this play will do it naturally

'Everywoman' at VAULT Festival

'Everywoman' is a one-woman play written by an anonymous playwright, seemingly capturing the attitudes of every woman. Actor Charlotte Merriam has quite a task on her hands. Matched with the magic of theatrical lighting, the flow constantly changes as she journeys the transition of motherhood for women at all stages of life. 

Its overtly confessional tone lays bear the less glamorous parts of motherhood, which Charlotte does an impeccable job at embodying. This is often literal as she finishes the show sleep-deprived and coated in baby sick. 

Although fragmentary in style as Charlotte shifts between different ages ('I'm 19 years old...'), chapters and different locations; Amelia Sears' production creates a brilliant flow through the content. The whole piece feels just like that... a whole collective. This is almost ironic as the protagonist finds that having a child is like ripping up a whole puzzle and restarting it again, with brand new puzzle pieces to navigate, perhaps with the absence of the picture you're trying to build. By the sheer nods in agreement from the audience, the piece feels very personal and universal. It almost begs the question why it's always 'Everyman' and not 'Everywoman'. 

The theme that is also explored is of course writing what you know. But as a mother, Charlotte states that she does not want motherhood to define her whole life or writing career. Yet, the playwright herself took an instinctive decision with the piece to remain anonymous. I wonder if this was due to a fear of judgment? She makes reference to Elena Ferrante's pastel coloured books, decorated with domestic images of mothers and children. Ferrante too adopts a pseudonym, which maybe allows her work to become more raw and personal – as she tackles more provocative topics such as mothers resenting their children. 

For a piece of theatre, I found 'Everywoman' to be a piece heaped in truth. In fact, it felt like a great big explosive celebration of women and the challenges they face in their lives. If I was being overly critical, I could maybe suggest that the company played with the dramatic potential of the piece a little bit more as the tempo did seem to stay at a constant rhythm. Nonetheless, this was a very enjoyable watch and made me leave the theatre with a happy feeling inside.


What the audience thought:


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Header Image Credit: VAULT Website

Author

Kheira Bey

Kheira Bey Contributor

A very busy bee in the world of theatre. Student at IDSA, RADA Youth Company Member, NYT Member and Arts Award Activist 2016/17. Represented by SYTS Management and ORA Casting.

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