Be Longing presented by G&T Productions
What Is It?
Written by Lauren Gibson and devised by the company, the new two-hander from G&T Productions comes to the Vault Festival. Performed by Lauren Gibson and Keagan Carr Fransch, and directed by Lizzie Fitzpatrick.
What Is It About?
Set in the near future, couple Jim and Sigrid are entertaining the possibility of having a child together. The problem? They’re both female, but in this future timeline, a process of combining two eggs has been developed to create a child without the involvement of sperm. What follows is the exploration of these two queer womxn’s relationship and their journey into the moral minefield of genetic engineering and the emotional strain of conception.
How Did It Make Me Feel?
Science fiction has always, since its inception, been about giving voice to the marginalised and exploring aspects and injustices in our society through metaphor and allegory. While this show does not strongly align itself with this genre, it seems significant that the subject of this show - the creation of life through artificial means - parallels with what is often cited as the origin of sci-fi; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Yet, while the 1818 novel explored the creation of life through entirely male means, Be Longing focuses on the opposite - life created through entirely female means. Often times, these narratives can be warnings of impending moral quandaries, and while this show touches on these, the primary focus is on Jim and Sigrid’s relationship.
Keagan Carr Fransch and Lauren Gibson bring a charming joviality to Jim and Sigrid’s relationship. There is an ease to their playful banter that highlights the natural rapport between these two performers. Yet, the brief episodic structure of this show does not allow for an in-depth examination of the intimacy of their relationship. Much of their displays of affection seem surface level and given that we see their relationship develop over the course of three years, there isn’t any real detail given in the performances as to how their expressions of affection would develop over time.
Indeed, the dilemmas the couple go through concerning the morality of deciding on their unborn child’s skin colour, physical and mental ability, while touched upon, are not given the space for in depth debate. This is a drama that focuses on the breakdown of a relationship, and though it is refreshing to see a queer relationship given a platform for examination in a theatrical space, there is nothing particularly revolutionary in how it handles this relationship. Jim and Sigrid are like any other couple, but perhaps this normalising of a female same sex relationship is revolutionary in itself.
While the performances of both actors are enjoyable to watch, the real meat of the philosophical quandaries and emotional impacts such issues place upon the characters of this piece are not given the space they need to enhance the drama or make this a truly unique piece.
Be Longing is playing at the Forge, VAULT Festival, until the 8th February 2020.
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