by Nat Tencic
It’s amazing that just a day after #ShoutYourAbortion went viral, a show completely about the theme of abortion should premiere.
Lisa Harper Campbell is like your best friend: she’s warm, real, open, and bares all in the name of art. The conviction with which she delivers the show, the sheer casualness and comfort, the intimacy of it all, means I believed every word, and that this really was her life.
In this show, the abortion works as an analogy for choices, decisions that make us who we are. Do we define ourselves by what is, what could be, what could have been? Abortion is a fork-in-the-road moment that Campbell doesn’t use politically, but philosophically. It’s a springboard for all of life’s ‘what ifs’. The unlikeliness of anyone’s existence. Someone else’s decision, as well as many well-aligned circumstances, is responsible for your existence. And your choices may well be responsible for someone else’s. In the era where educated, privileged young Western women are presented with a world of choice, the topics of abortion, school, gender and food are handled gracefully and cleverly.
It was a perfect day for me to have an existential crisis. Here was a character, and by her conviction I assumed an actress, just like me, 23, private school educated by scholarship, from a fractured family. A cynic, a smartass, and more than a little bit stressed out about the future.
A Bee’s Dick Away is at heart, a simple, beautiful monologue that perfectly spells out the angst of post-university life. Large decisions loom, ones that will change ours and the lives of others. But all we can do is sit on our parents’ couch, munch on Doritos and binge-watch Netflix, suffocated by the existential fear that we will make the wrong choice.
A Bee’s Dick Away plays at Gasworks Arts Park until 26th September – for more information and tickets, check out the Melbourne Fringe Festival’s website.