Last night I went to see Expectant at Alexander Bar, created and directed by Penny Youngelson (part of Rust Co-Operative) and performed by Rebecca Makin-Taylor. It was the final performance there, but they have a tiny run at TAAC soon (just so you know).
I was pretty taken up with this quite extraordinary Â piece of theatre. This is not a review of Expectant. At this stage of its showing I doubt that it needs that. This is me trying to explain why I liked it so very much, in the best possible way.
I really liked this piece of work because it is entirely itself. What that is, is complex, funny, challenging, self absorbed, self conscious, indulgent, clever, critical, big, slow, crazy, full of promise, washed with disappointment, lots of beauty, and articulation, and sound, and pointlessness, and wacky character and carapace/constriction/period dress, and weird big hair, and glass cups and red tampon-like string things. It is South African, and a clue to what young clever people are thinking and feeling, and it nods to my past, and indulges my whiteness and it made me feel again how I don’t have children (a deeply personal moment of powerful and unintended connection). It is long and complicated and verbose and full, and try as I might, I missed stuff and laughed and missed the next thing and then was taken by surprise by the next thing.
This piece made me excited for another big reason. It is made for itself. It is made to speak its own special stuff, with its own voice. It has not been made with an audience in mind, because if it had been it would have been very different. It is theatre that reminded me that theatreÂ canÂ be made without imagining who will see it, and pandering to them. And there will be people whoÂ willÂ get it, or at least enough of it to count. This is brave theatre. It is probably full of its own heartache, but my sense is that the young women who have made it are pretty strong.