Linda Nicholls-Gidley directs Vox Theatre’s production of British columnist and playwright Sadie Hasler’s Pramkicker. It’s a confronting look at the modern woman’s struggle for meaning set to the soundtrack of her ticking biological clock, she explains.
“As a 20-something moving to the big city after finishing drama school, I knew the world was at my feet. There were things to do, milestones to achieve, life was ripe for the picking. Kids would come later and when they did, I’d be ready, I’d have done all the things I set out to do and everything would be aceballs.
That was me, I knew that I wanted kids, just not right away. When I had kids I would do all of the things, juggling work/life balance and continue to make art.
People were pretty persistent about the kid thing, though. When was I going to settle down? When would I start trying? How many did I want? Did I want a boy or a girl?
I was never asked if I actually wanted kids. It was expected.
In Pramkickers, siblings Jude and Suze, 30-somethings, are kicking back enjoying life, reconnecting with each other, living the single life, united against the world. Their humour is black and their drink is gin. There’s time yet for all that other stuff.
Anyway, Jude’s pretty sure she doesn’t want kids, Suze isn’t so sure, but the truth is we expect it of women, that they will bear offspring and populate the world. But does having a uterus mean you need to use it?
The what if’s, the guilt and the FOMO are real for many women.
What if it’s too late, what if I can’t, what if I can’t find the right partner, what if I have kids and I’m not ready or if I think I’ve made a mistake? Is it selfish to want my own life free from the demands of extra humans? Does my choice make me less/more of a woman?
In Pramkicker, Sadie Hasler explores the demands placed on women and the burden of the choices we make. Can we separate biology from purpose and fulfilment? What does society expect from women and why? And whose body is it anyway?
Why must we argue that choosing not to have children is valid? That worth is not determined by how many progeny you have? Why must we argue in 2018 that a woman has a right to choose one way or another and that access to relevant medical services should be freely available?
Every argument feels like Harold Ramis’ film Groundhog Day where the story is unable to move forward until the man learns something. And here we are again, arguing that we should have the right to choose.
There are larger issues at stake here though and in 2018 these questions feel more relevant. In a time where the moral compass seems to have gone back in time and those in positions of power feel impelled to tell us what we need to do with our bodies, Pramkicker speaks to the simmering anger and resentment we carry within us.
Our power is in unity. Hasler writes: ‘Be informed and treat every woman like a sister or daughter. Share about our bodies and our experiences. Be honest and flawed and fucked up and maybe even wrong, but over everything be kind, and exercise every fucking right and choice we have.’
Bitingly funny and evocative, Pramkicker is a celebration of female strength and fragility, and the ties that bind sisters.”