This Edinburgh Fringe “tour-de-force” Clare Pointing presents her bold and through-provoking solo show With Child. The show introduces six very different women with one thing in common. In With Child Clare Pointing examines the pressures society puts on women to be maternal, considerate and nurturing. We caught up with Clare to talk about her “warts and all” portrayal of six different characters…
Funny Women: Tell us about With Child
Clare Pointing: In this show you will meet six women with one thing in common, they are all pregnant. However, only one of them refers to this fact.
With Child is a series of talking head style monologues, six different women all offering a glimpse into their everyday lives warts and all. Inspired by the work of writers such as Victoria Wood and Alan Bennett, this show will make you laugh, cringe and cry.
FW: What inspired you to create the show?
CP: When I first started writing this show pregnancy was on my mind, lots of friends were having children and I really wanted to have a baby myself. Then it got me thinking about my career, what would happen if I was lucky enough to become pregnant myself. It struck me that we never really see pregnant actresses on screen or stage unless the scene is focused on this fact and I thought, what about a show where everyone is pregnant but they’re not talking about it, does it still work or does it change how the audience feel about them as people? Along the writing journey I became pregnant and performed a few work in progress versions throughout the pregnancy up until I was eight months, my own experience has really informed the show and continues to do so.
I want to show these characters simply as they are… because women do not necessarily transform when they become mothers, at least not in my experience. They are still who they are, women, not saints, just people capable of all the usual human emotions. We might like them, we might not!
FW: The show features you performing different characters, have you got a favourite?
CP: The last character is my favourite, she is a young single mum and is facing harsh judgement everyday. Coming from a single parent household myself it has always been very apparent to me that women in particular are judged harshly for finding themselves in this situation especially if they are young. I have always found it so sad that as a society we don’t respond in the opposite way, that we don’t support those that need us the most. In this show this young woman gets to have a voice, to speak out against those who judge her and in contrast to some of the other women we meet she is full of hope and possibility.
FW: Has performing With Child helped you come to any conclusions about society’s expectations of women to be maternal?
CP: I’ve had many conversations with audiences and friends about this subject now and it feels pretty conclusive that as women there is an expectation around how we are expected to feel around this subject matter, to have a natural link to that maternal instinct.
There are so many complex emotions that surround the subject of pregnancy, having children and the way women are expected to feel and behave in relation to this subject. It’s not unusual as a woman to be asked if we want children, or when we’re planning on having them, how many we want, often with no thought for the fact that these could be very upsetting or annoying questions for a variety of reasons. Then not only are we then expected to supply this information but also provide it all with glee. Obviously I’m speaking very generally here and as with everything there are exceptions but as an overriding feeling I would say the expectation of a woman to be maternal is still very high.
FW: Are there any women whose shows you’re excited to see this Edinburgh Fringe?
CP: I’m really looking forward to seeing some very talented friends shows. Lorna Shaw’s new show Shaw and Order. Kathryn Bond is in Breach Theatre’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, which I will be seeing for a second time as it’s brilliant.
I’m going to see Apphia Campbell in Woke and I have also had so many recommendations to see Gabby Best’s show 10,432 Sheep I’ve definitely forgotten some but I will be seeing as many as possible!
Clare Pointing: With Child is at the Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar, at 15:30 31st July, 1st – 25th August (not 14th). For tickets click here!