BWW Review: MISSION ABORT, The Vaults
"I am 26 years old, I live in London, and I work in the arts. This is not fantastic." says Therese Ramstedt as her character finds out that she's pregnant. From that moment on, she embarks on an emotional rollercoaster that challenges the inherent stigma and absurd shame of abortion.
With Mission Abort, Ramstedt pens a devastatingly gracious and effective piece of theatre, straying from clichés and tackling the subject with candour and energy. She never doubts her decision and neither does her boyfriend, as they aren't in a position to afford (emotionally and else) a child, so they settle on not having one.
"A woman becomes a mother when she chooses to become one" she reflects at the end after she's found out first-hand that she won't ever be the same, even though her scars aren't visible. Speeches of Trump talking about hating the concept of abortion rumble in the room while she's waiting to get the procedure done. A pro-lifer hands her out a leaflet as she enters and exits the clinic; the couple never say anything about their choice.
One in three women in the UK chooses to terminate a pregnancy, Ramstead points out, so there's a good chance that everyone will meet a fair amount. The problem is, nobody will ever know because they'll never tell anyone, leading to a chain reaction of psychological destruction.
Directed by Claire Stone, the one-woman play is delicate but piercing. Audio cues that go from Trump nonsense to Clearblue commercials help the narration move along and become the strong presence of the outside world, but remain conventional. The script is quick and immediate and Ramstedt chillingly sings multiple times, showcasing a well-rounded talent.
A tale of grief stemmed from taking the right decision and based on gratuitous misconceptions, Mission Abort shows another side of the story. While the choice of ending the unwanted pregnancy was an easy one take, moving on isn't. She's paralysed at the idea of having to deal with her body and of knowing what it can do.
Ramstedt makes her point showing and not telling; she cuts to the chase and explains how illogical the silence and finger-pointing around abortion is.