Devised by The Notnow Collective
Director: Hannah Silva
Reviewer: Hannah Powell
In a comedic and honest representation of the challenges of motherhood, from public shaming to those moments where you are forced to choose between your child and your career. The Notnow Collective open the audience’s eyes to 21st-century parenthood. all centred around a question: Can we soothe our babies and our ambition? It’s one hour of exploration into the difficulties which come with trying to achieve perfect parenting while also attempting to follow your own personal ambitions. This is all while there are two children with their childminder in the dressing room backstage.
Kristina Gavran and Tina Hofman take the audience through their experiences, from the desperately needed coffee and wine breaks to the challenges of working with your children in the rehearsal room. Having to stay up till 2 am to finish work, planning certain times for what they term ‘effort sex’, not feeling desired anymore, the drop in confidence many new mothers go through are all topics covered unashamedly. Despite the specificity of the piece, it remains relatable to those who aren’t mothers, however it is likely that this is due to the increase of awareness surrounding the topic of motherhood caused by social media. In a society where everything is shared from positive to negative, is it possible to give your audience something new?
While the piece follows Gavran and Hofman’s experiences, it also portrays a story which explores the impossibility of achieving perfect parenting through the use of a Wonderwoman doll and a stuffed purple bunny rabbit. As Wonderwoman attempts to gain her perfect parenting certificate to become a mother, she goes on a journey of realising that no matter what she decides, a woman will always be judged. Judged for deciding not to have children when they are perfectly capable, and shamed for not being a perfect mother.
Despite the effectiveness of this scene, it feels like the concept it not explored to its full potential. While the concept is incredibly entertaining and relatable even to those without children, there seems to be something missing. It is possible that in attempting to make the piece relatable to everyone, they’ve missed the opportunities to include some more specific items about parenting. Rushing to buy all the parenting books, the difficulties of breastfeeding, the interruption of the mother-in-law, these are not present and would be ideal items to include.
Two moments which are particularly powerful are central in the narrative. In the first, the show is interrupted by Hoffman being told her children need her in the dressing room. Consequently, Gavran is left on stage on her own and gives a very vulnerable and heart-warming speech about not knowing what to do and constantly not feeling good enough in the eyes of society. In the second, Wonderwoman is allowed her certificate but first must play the shame game. This involves shaming mothers who are seen eating chocolate behind their child’s back, or giving their child an iPad to keep them quiet. An interesting interpretation of the media and how they shame mothers for the simplest of things on a daily basis.
Overall Wonderwoman – the Naked Truth is an entertaining and truthful piece which looks at motherhood through the lens of mothers rather than the media for once. While they maybe miss some interesting topics to explore the performance as a whole is enjoyable for people without children as well as those with.
Reviewed on 1 April 2017 and on tour | Image: Contributed