Not ‘Women And Power, or ‘Woman In Power’, but with an unapologetic nod to the younger, punkier-sounding Girl Power of the nineties, we’re making noise about Woman Power.
No longer 9 years old playing living room gigs to our mums, standing on the sofa singing Wannabe into hairbrushes. Oh no. We are fully fledged, child-bearing-hipped women, with over £30k in debt, no permanent job, home or, let’s face it mental wellbeing. Adulthood has well and truly struck and shit apparently got real.
We may be girls no longer, but we are now learning what power we have as women. Women all across the world are uniting, using their power and voices to create movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp and even the creators of Girl Power, The Spice Girls are making a comeback.
The lead character in our one woman punk play HEAR ME HOWL, Jess is, like us, turning 30 but on the lead up to her birthday she discovers punk and joins a punk band as a drummer. It’s through joining a band, learning an instrument and throwing herself into punk philosophy that she discovers her voice and her power as a woman. She is inspired by women past and present to find out who she is and what she wants from life, at this new ripe age.
One of the main turning points of the play is Jess making the decision whether or not to bring a child into the world. Bringing a child into the world may be what is expected of women, especially a woman hitting the big Three O - a woman who “should” by now be full swing in a financially secure line of work that she’s fought tooth and nail for, overcoming all manner of workplace sexism and exploitation along the way; a woman now with a long term partner or fiancé or husband. But no one talks openly about just how expensive it is to raise a child in the society in which we live, nor just how emotionally draining it can be too. And some women, thank you very much, don’t want kids at all (or a husband).
What if as Adult Girl / Woman, you decide to opt out of the greatest biological power given to your assigned-at-birth gender, the power you have to become a mother? What if that is an even greater power we have as women: the power to decide what is right for us and not be governed by societal expectations? What if instead of nurturing a mini-me into full bloom, I nurture 1. My own health and happiness, 2. My creative and political expression, 3. The love I have for all those around me and not just those whose blood I share? Our character Jess goes through such a journey of self-discovery, just at the moment her body is telling her to slow down, get off that London treadmill and listen deeply inwards.
When we think of the power distinct to women, it can often be described as being something intuitive. We’re ‘emotionally intelligent’, we’re ‘listeners’, ‘fixers’, ‘wise’. Yes, we are all of those things. But we also get angry, we see red (not just pink), we throw our (surprisingly weighty) limbs around, our voices rising several octaves higher than the gentle whines and whispers historically expected of us. You may be surprised to know, we have always had the capacity to feel the same emotions as men. But they have often been sidelined and silenced. And we all know what happens when something is suppressed, don’t we? Yep - it comes back bigger and stronger and more determined than ever before.
This power of women to question their status quo is epitomised by the anarchic, rebellious nature of Punk. This is why writer Lydia Rynne wanted to use the sounds and ideologies of punk music as the catalyst for Jess to find her power.
We hope that our audiences will be able to identify with Jess’ journey. We hope that it’ll make their anger or despair feel justified and, importantly, necessary to make change in the world. We hope that audiences will leave the theatre safe in the knowledge that it’s never too late to question the life you’re living and choose a different path. That listening to and following your inner voice is the most empowering thing you can do.
HEAR ME HOWL by Lydia Rynn, is produced by Caley Powell and
directed by Kay Michael at The Landor Space, 7th, 8th and 9th March at 7:30pm and 9th March at 2:30pm.
Tickets are £10, £8 concessions and can be bought here: BOX OFFICE