Creator: Wayne Steven Jackson
A word which is repeated numerous times throughout Wayne Steven Jackson’s From Me to Us, is ‘oblivious’. And oblivious many of us may be, to the small amendment of the law, which had a huge impact on families in the UK. On the 3 January 2019, a law passed to allow single persons the right to become legal parents of children conceived through surrogacy. In the context of From Me to Us, a single gay man, is for the first time able to consider solo fatherhood via surrogacy with full legal recognition as the child’s parent.
The audience is taken through the story of the surrogacy process interwoven with the timeline of the passing of legislation that enables the protagonist to fulfil the dream he barely dared to dream: of becoming a single father. It is 2019 and the world is contending with suicide bombings, climate change and attacks on persons for their sexuality. The set design is simple, with only a desk, chair, old typewriter and a clothes rack with six shirts visible on stage. Drawing on his own experiences, Jackson is a charismatic lead, carrying the show and enabling the audience to feel and relate to the emotions and struggles experienced.
The show uses various methods to story tell during what is essentially a one-man monologue. This is crucial, as the jargon surrounding the legalities, schedules and processes of the law change feels heavy at times. The added testimonial style sections of the show (from other fathers who have been through surrogacy) offers some relief, helping to illustrate the more human side of the story.
The concept of time is explored with the audience being taken between past, present and future. We are taken to the past, to the street where he grows up, and where he struggles with his sexuality. In the letter to the unborn child, we are taken to the future, full of wonder as to how life will be as a father. We see images of children on screen, which is an added touch and brings these future musings to life. The show plays with different filming styles and angles. It is clear that these are efforts to keep the audience engaged but at times this strategy does not really add to the story and makes it feel fragmented and hard to follow.
The music (composed by BAFTA and Academy Award winner, Chris Benstead) weaves its way seamlessly into the show, giving it a peaceful and cinematic quality. With a run time of one hour, Wayne Steven Jackson’s From Me to Us, is, nevertheless, a hope-filled and touching show about the rarely discussed and thought-provoking topic of male single fatherhood.
Available here until 16 May 2021