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By Elisabeth Easther
Directed by Kerryn Palmer
SEX & DRUGS, WITHOUT THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
IVF isn’t foolproof and IUDs aren’t failsafe. iPhones come with ovulation apps and ‘choosing from the menu’ means selecting your sperm. Seed follows four women as they try to get pregnant, stay pregnant or become un-pregnant – the dilemmas of modern reproduction.
Elisabeth Easther’s Seed is winner of the 2014 Adam New Zealand Play Award, which recognises and celebrates the best in new writing for the theatre. It’s a multi-narrative play about the mysterious business of fertility, with all of its challenges, heartaches and hormones.
Seed is a drama that’ll have you laughing ‘til the tears are running down your face, and it’s a comedy that’ll make you cry.
“Highly entertaining, funny and sophisticated” – Adam Play Award Judges
“[A] sophisticated, witty and very contemporary meditation on the timeless processes of procreation.” – NZ Herald
STARRING: Tess Jamieson-Karaha, Jamie McCaskill, Emily Regtien, Holly Shanahan and Amy Tarleton
17 Jan 2015 to 14 Feb 2015
LACK OF BABIES CREATES DRAMA
That fertility, or human reproduction, is a mysterious business is very obvious from what transpires during Seed, Circa Theatre’s current production by NZ playwright Elisabeth Easther.
There are those who can easily get pregnant even when they don’t want to and those, no matter how hard they try, who are never able to conceive. Which is the case with the two sets of close friends in Easther’s play, all of them in their 30’s.
First there is Hilary (Amy Tarleton) who, although she already has a daughter from a previous relationship, is desperate to conceive with current partner George. But after 3 miscarriages things aren’t looking too good no matter what pills, potions or methods she tries.
Her best friend is Maggie (Emily Regtien), a solo mum who is still good mates with her son’s dad who is having health issues including possible problems with her IUD.
Then there is Shelley (Tess Jamieson-Karaha), trying to re-establish herself back into the work force as an advertising executive after 8 years raising 2 kids. Her best friend is Virginia (Holly Shanahan), a brash midwife who has neither partner nor kids but whose biological clock is ticking fast.
With moments of side splitting hilarity coupled with those of heart wrenching poignancy, Easther cleverly interweaves the stories of the friends with comments from each direct to the audience. Insightful and revealing, each character shows a different aspect of the trials and tribulations surrounding conception.
And this is aided in no small part by Kerryn Palmers creative and well orchestrated production on John Hodgkins creatively innovative set that allows the action to move seamlessly from scene to scene.
But it is the standout performances of the actors that makes the play come alive, each bringing an honesty and integrity to their parts that make them real and believe so that each emotional moment is felt by both the actor and the audience.
And mention must also be made of the only male in the cast Jamie McCaskill who does an awesome job of playing the many male characters, plus one or two female ones, with a versatility seldom seen on stage.
There are many moments to savour in this production and many that will ring true for a vast majority of the audience making it one that is well worth seeing.
Warning: Adult themes and strong language.