by Terry Bellamak
Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of seeing “A Voice in My Head”, an original work by Jodie Malloy. I mean original in every sense of the word. The author has discarded the pro-choice and anti-choice framework and delved deeper, into the forces that drive stigma and coercion.
The characters range across time periods and geographical areas, but all have felt the sting of judgment, having been judged, by others or by themselves. The stigma that surrounds women and sex and childbirth boxes them into situations from which they try to break free, with mixed results.
Each woman’s plight is individual; the characters are far too well drawn to stand for boring universal archetypes. Natalie Medlock brings each one to life, full of idiosyncrasies and vastly different perspectives. She remains onstage throughout the production, changing elements of her costume to suit different people and different time periods. The play is set in a train car, a choice that establishes each character’s one act soliloquy as brief moment in a longer journey.
The play is full of astute observations and unexpected humour. It explores the ways in which stigma drives coercion, which drives silence and powerlessness. In a train car suspended in time the characters raise their voices and tell their truths.
“A Voice in My Head” runs through June 4 2016 in Auckland. Here’s hoping the play comes to Wellington. Go see it if you can.