BWW Review: NO SPRING CHICKEN Delivers the Perfect Egg
Pregnancy is certainly a woman's issue. Add in fertility treatments and being of "advanced maternal age" makes pregnancy an odyssey. NO SPRING CHICKEN premiers at NextStop Theater Company as part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival. The one woman show, directed by Sullivan Canaday White and written and starring Ginna Hoben, tells the autobiographical journey of her pregnancy at the age of 40.
Coming into this show, I was certainly wondering, how am I, a 22-year-old who is nowhere close to the mere idea of pregnancy, going connect to this show? Well, Hoben captures the possibilities of pregnancy in the 21st century, with humor, poise, honesty, and lots of puns (apparently there is no such thing as too many egg jokes).
NO SPRING CHICKEN is not just the story of a 40-year-old having trouble getting pregnant. It is an epic. Every trip to the fertility doctor and every morning sickness is just another notch on the heroes' journey. But not only does she deal with this, she deals with problems that the average sick person has to face in today's medical industry. She hates playing 20 questions with each nurse she sees, fears her insurance company will not cover a treatment, and stresses out when she looks up her symptoms online. These story lines make it a story worth telling.
But what was truly amazing about this show was Hoben's communication with the audience. Of course, I cannot speak of the interaction for every show because every audience is different. But as Hoben spoke to our audience, she often received a response. Whether it was a question she asked directly or an offhand comment that she was going to get a nipple piercing, she compelled the audience enough to actively pay attention and interact. It was a rare treat.
Beyond her narrative voice, Hoben's physicality was well directed. Whatever happiness or pain she expressed, I felt. For example, when she was in labor, crawling and climbing all over the amazing moon center piece (set designed by Jane Hosticka Fink), I was wincing along with her.
NO SPRING CHICKEN was charming and ultimately felt like a well written conversation between friends. It was a wonderful piece of theater for those looking to break the wall between actor and audience. For me, it also served as a wonderful reminder that I am not ready to give birth any time soon.
NO SPRING CHICKEN runs through October 11 at NextStop Theatre Company, 269 Sunset Park Dr, Herndon, VA 20170. Tickets can be purchased online or you may call (703) 481-5930.
Runtime is about 75 minutes without an intermission.