Imagine a near post-apocalyptic future where women can detect when they are down to their last ovarian egg and have a government-enforced time limit on when they can fertilize before the egg is destroyed. That is the setting of Crystal Jackson’s play, “The Singularity”, being produced as the first of four plays The Shelterbelt Theatre offers for their 23rd season.
The science fiction story metaphorically centering on women’s issues is the start of an all-female written season. The shows selected are in response to the national discussion of gender parity happening lately in theater circles.
Shelterbelt Theatre’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Thompson, felt like the company was in a unique position to do something in favor of producing more female-driven plays.
“I want to be part of the solution,” Thompson said. “Versus contributing to either the problem, or the complaining.”
Thompson, who is also the director for “The Singularity”, promises audiences the show is something completely different, new and fresh. This should surprise few given that the theatre’s main focus is producing new original work.
“We are the only theater company that is 100% reliant on the modern playwright and that makes me proud,” Thompson said.
“The Singularity” features 40-year-old Astrid played by MaryBeth Adams who in an obstacle filled search to fertilize her last egg meets a young scientist played by Jon Roberson. The scientist has stolen a box of dark matter which Astrid decides to impregnate herself with. Will Muller and Craid Bond round out the cast playing duel roles each.
They play up the Sci-Fi elements of the show, which Thompson thinks will play well given the Halloween season, but there is much more to the story.
Thompson’s hope is that audiences leave the theatre wanting to have a discussion about what they just experienced and specifically about some of the ideas and themes that are discovered within the world of the play.
“Astrid’s search for a donor to fertilize her egg and the struggles she encounters are a giant metaphor for the current abortion conversation and where our society might be headed in relation to women’s health resources if we don’t stand up strong and tall for ourselves,” Thompson said. “The piece as a whole reflects the idea of falling down, and hard, but more importantly what happens next and how the choice of getting up and moving forward can be the true reward. It is hopeful in a really messed up way.”
Out of the four shows this season, Thompson chose this play to direct because of a personal connection and affinity she had with the script.