By Samia Djilli
Re: Production is an innovative fringe piece that captures both the complexities of being a woman, and what it means to resist society’s expectations whilst also wanting to please your partner.
Brought to Camden Fringe by White Slate Theatre, Re: Production showcases the intimate side of an everyday relationship. From what they’re having for dinner to how they fall asleep next to each other, no stone is unturned, making this small play a big watch for anybody entering into adulthood.
Performed in the Etcetera Theatre, with minimal props and staging, the show kicked off with the two main characters, Karen and Tom, speaking about themselves hypothetically. As they proceeded to use a whiteboard and pen to breakdown their character profiles, the audience was saved from an unnecessary backstory, but rather were allowed to invest in the characters themselves, and a few funny drawings threw some light comic relief into the mix.
The play proceeded to explore things such as the hormones that make us fall in love, and the scientific nature of human attraction, and did so in quite an engaging way. It was neither over nor under played, and even though some of the jokes seemed to fall flat at times, it didn’t fail at explaining the exact point of the play: that love and relationships aren’t as magical as we may think. As Karen and Tom’s relationship moved further along the timeline, their rose-tinted backstory was quickly dipped in reality as the question of having kids was brought up, changing this quite average heteronormative middle-class couple into a tense modern-day conflict.
Whilst Tom is the everyday businessmen wishing to have a family, Karen is trying to create the next big break in IVF, and wants to do so without having a family of her own. The two then enter into a montage of arguments with Karen speaking of the pressures she feels as a woman, and the deafening silence that is now so apparent in their home. All the while, Tom speaks of the heart-breaking jealously he feels every time he walks past pregnant women, and how he’s subconsciously made decisions throughout their ten year relationship that would allow for a future with children. These flipped gender roles created a dynamic tension between these two characters that clearly both love each other, but can’t figure out how to compromise on such big subject.
Ultimately the narrative focuses on how Karen is the deciding force as she is the one that has to carry the child, and how her life is the one that is changed forever, not just for a moment. With some very smart moments, along with some questionable interpretative dance, this play is perfect for anybody living in the modern age where having children is no longer a must, but rather a maybe.