My Geriatric Uterus
The digital production of My Geriatric Uterus, which debuted at the 2019 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, opens with the Raleigh-based playwright-performer Lormarev Jones as Grown-Ass Woman. She’s introducing a special episode of a fictional public access show, Adulting for Millennials, for her 35th birthday.
The public-access episode travels back to previous moments and singalongs composed by Christopher Wood, unpacking the student loan crisis, the difficulties of forging a career under late-stage capitalism, and the fraught pressures from her uterus. The uterus itself, created by puppet designer Samantha Corey, is a pink marionette outfitted with delicate fallopian arms, a cigarette dangling out of its mouth.
Between sing-a-longs and skits, under Carolyn Guido Clifford’s direction, Jones breaks from the public access host persona, speaking off-the-cuff to the distinct obstacles that Black millennial women face, not just in the workforce but when it comes to motherhood and what her children may face.
These moments of raw power—which might otherwise have played directly to the audience on the Cincinnati Fringe stage the show premiered on—instead occur in full view of the studio, revealing cameras, light fixtures, and the production staff. The meta-theatricality of seeing the scaffolding of film production is satisfying, though this choice makes you wish you could be closer to Jones in these moments, not viewing her digitally from off-stage right.
Despite these moments of distance, and a few instances of issues with audio mixing, the experience is exhilarating from start to finish. Like any good Fringe experience, even translated to film, My Geriatric Uterus feels handmade, personal, and jagged around the edges—from the bright set pieces and papercut transition shots to the unmistakable, industrial aesthetic of Durham’s Shadowbox Studio space, where the production was filmed.
My Geriatric Uterus, produced by Aggressive Curl Pattern Productions, is available on-demand via Vimeo for a $5 one-time viewing through the end of December. Tips collected via payment apps go directly to the artist. Running at 35 minutes, My Geriatric Uterus is worth much more than the $5 asking price. In a time when fresh, experimental local art is often inaccessible due to social distancing restrictions, My Geriatric Uterus feels exactly like what theater should be, even digitally.
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