Eggsistentialism at Arcola Theatre
Eggsistentialism is a quick-blast half monologue, half stand-up routine. It’s a delight to watch, and as funny as it is honest. Which is very.
Written and performed by Joanne Ryan, Eggsistentialism is an autobiographical journey detailing her existential crisis around and decisions about her fertility. How long left does she have to have a baby? Is it already too late? Does she even want to have a child? Would she be a good mother? Her overthinking drives her into a stressful back-and-forth on the subject.
The script is well written and well performed. Joanne Ryan gives the audience plenty to laugh along with, from her own thoughts and observations to the occasional disapproving comment from her mother. The performer’s clever use of audio and video, and the play itself, makes for a wonderful piece of storytelling. It may be a one-woman show, but through the audio, Ryan’s mum ends up being a superb supporting character.
The intimate setting at the Arcola Theatre provides the perfect space for this play, it’s as if the audience is Ryan’s close friend, with whom she’s having a deep and honest conversation over a cup of tea. Eggsistentialism touches heavily on themes of gender roles, expectations and inequalities when it comes to reproducing and parenting. It’s particularly focused on the actor’s Irish roots, but, in reality, much of it is just as relevant in any Western country.
At 65 minutes, this piece is the perfect length. Ryan’s discipline as a writer, keeping the show as concise as possible without losing any of the good stuff, has ensured that every minute is enjoyable.
Engaging and at times quite deep, Eggsistentialism is fantastically entertaining to watch. It’s certainly thought-provoking, raising questions about personal reproduction as well as the wider expectations and roles within society when it comes to having babies.
Photo: Ken Coleman
Eggsistentialism is at Arcola Theatre from 30th January until 3rd February 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.