This poignant, anonymously authored monologue charts a woman’s troubled transition into motherhood.
Everywoman explores the idea of the female experience as something universal. It does this via a smart dissection of the perceived difference in the literary value of the work of Elena Ferrante and Philip Roth.
The protagonist is a writer who both does and doesn’t want a baby. Her body and society tell her she should, yet she worries that “the birth of a mother” will bring about the “death” of her sense of self.
This fracturing of her identity becomes the form of the narrative. The timeline jumps around, from her early horror at the sacrifice of motherhood to her later efforts to get pregnant, until the story coalesces around the birth of a daughter.
Jade Williams’ punchy performance remains quietly controlled, doubt and anger bubbling delicately beneath the surface. Amelia Sears’ graceful direction keeps things fluid and engaging as Williams meanders around Charlotte Espiner’s elegant, bath-centred set.
The visual imagery is telling. The stage is edged with buckets of water; Williams uses them to fill the bath slowly as she speaks. Each time she attempts to claim some space for herself, she tries to dip a foot in.
Kieran Lucas’ sound design trips from a disquieting heartbeat as a miscarriage is described to quirky interludes as Williams – centred by Timothy Kelly’s gentle lighting – battles the demands of her newborn.
The result is a startling and often funny demonstration of the eternal and, yes, universal difficulty of trying to feel whole in a complex world.