Whose Uterus is it Anyway? – Georgie Adamson and The Clinic. (Theatre Review)

Whose Uterus is it Anyway?

505 Theatre FeshWorksFEMME

October 30 – November 10.  You can grab your tickets here.

Images: Jasmin Simmons

Tellingly absent from Georgie Adamson’s waiting room game show in Whose Uterus is it Anyway? is the female aged between forty-nine and sixty-nine, even though she is the second largest social demographic and the person most likely to need all the offered treatments concurrently. However, this woman’s absence reveals more than our discomfort in acknowledging the reproductive health needs of aging females. This sophisticated woman has been misdiagnosed and humiliated in these clinics all her life, and is less likely to be in attendance or has learnt to restrict and sublimate her health concerns. And this is, of course Georgie Adamsons point. The dehumanizing in sexual health clinics – toward women particularly, but also toward men – not only prevents adequate medical care, but aggressively refuses it by incorporating social judgements that are presumed to be absent. Sex, health and in particular women’s bodies are marked by change, that terrifying word that we all pretend to embrace. Until very recently (last fifty years or so) the woman’s voice was absent from the professional discussion on menopause, or included as a quaint anecdotal deference to a group considered incapable of adequately describing their own experience. That men offer the treatment, diagnostic definitions and language of an experience they will never have is the very definition of insane and makes impossible to justify presumptions about cultural rationality. Particularly when biology is rife with the leaps of faith required to “properly” analyse our fellow mammals as so “similar.” Vet’s and doctors are not only one and the same in the vet’s eyes, it would seem.

And so Georgie Adamson writes a darkly comic affair that deftly humorises the humiliation women endure (regardless of ailment for which they seek remedy). Whose Uterus is it Anyway? examines societies attitudes and their impact on the clinic at face value, however it does not touch mythologizing around procedure. It is still presumed an abortion has to be an invasive process for which the humane will administer local anesthetic, rather than realizing women are systemically refused drugs such as Methotrexate which act orally to induce miscarriage and have capacity to liberate females to the bizarre concept of whole health. (Methotrexate acts like a contraception and has a 90 – 97% success rate in procuring a noninvasive, safe-at-home abortion) Like women’s health, femininity has been defined by men while the properly developed female body over forty is freakish to the degree of abomination. These are problems women (trans, cis, or otherwise) experience on mass at The Clinic, a place that loathes anyone other than straight males, to which (ironically) straight males have such a problem going, because it makes them feel feminized. (!) For Georgie Adamson, a trip to The Clinic is like taking part in a terrorizing game show where folk are routinely humiliated for the pleasure of an unseen-but-known-to-exist audience. Wile the show is subversive (particularly a scene when Michelle (Chelsea Needham) is forced to disrobe in order to receive her STI medication) and at times shocking, little of the overall penchant for misinformation on the part of the medical industry is presented, which is the true humiliation of the health clinic. While representation of certain groups we do not expect to see in a clinic is well conferred the most invisible and subversive creature of all, the older woman, is predictably absent. Given she is the one poked, prodded and most taken advantage of by these clinics, this absence has a stultifying effect over the potentiality for Whose Uterus is it Anyway? to get serious about its questions and revelations.

Still, Whose Uterus is it Anyway? is witty and clever and lots of fun for a night at the theatre. Young people who will love seeing themselves properly represented are bound to have lots of fun with the concept that is clever and engaging. Toby Blume has a strange and idiosyncratic comedic style that fits beautifully with the good-guy-bad-guy ethic of the typical medico and he moves smoothly and well into each of the variety of representative roles that he plays when providing masculine mirrors for the female characters development. Finn Murphy and Chelsea Needham are both suitably powerful as the more politically serious forays into sexual subjectivity while Alexandra Morgan is extremely funny as our ‘red herring’ for the night. Annie Stafford does a superb job with cliched characterization of the feminist student (that strangely tosses them under a bus) but manages to make her character more wit and comedy than taking the barbs to heart. Director Eve Beck clearly enjoys Georgie Adamson’s words and calls forth great performances that are energetic and fun. The clever unpredictability of the text is well served by her direction and one of the great plot strengths of this fine piece of writing. Rounded out by persuasive lighting from Martin Kinnane and Alex Lee-Rekers cohesive sound design, all creatives serve the wit in the text well. A bit of a shout out to Camillle Ostrowsky who makes a small budget stretch far in her set and costume design. (But then, that’s what these guys do so well isn’t it?)

Whose Uterus is it Anyway may not be as subversive as it would like, but its definitely fun. For those of us who attend The Clinic regularly, it will be horribly recognizable, and therefore a good dose of comedic therapy to poke fun and have a good laugh.