Saturday, 12 May 2018

Baby Cake - Next Wave Festival review

There aren’t many women in the world who can say they’ve never thought – or been asked - about having children. Regardless of the answer, it is a question that ultimately needs to be answered with the ramifications of that choice coming into effect for the rest of their lives. Kerensa Diball and Yuhui Ng-Rodriguez are two friends, one is a mother and one is not, and in Baby Cake, they look at what it means to be a woman and a mother, with a little help along the way.

Ng-Rodriguez has a 2-year-old son, Mori and throughout the show she discusses the changes in her life, particularly in how she balances this with her career as an art maker and the compromises she has had to make to continue working while being a mother. On the other side of the spectrum, Diball has no children, but she did acquire a parasite called blastocystis hominis after eating some raw goat’s cheese in Turkey so she has some idea on what’s it like to be a mother.

Baby Cake is a fine example of life imitating art imitating life with Mori also appearing in the show. Dressed in a dinosaur onesie, he is free to roam about the stage, walk into the audience and interact with them and keep Diball and Ng-Rodriguez on their toes with the “what will he do next” suspense. Just like having a child in the real world, Mori's presence adds elements of surprise and distraction as the two performers attempt to continue with the structure of their show while keeping an eye on him.

The similarities and differences of these two lives, the childless woman and the woman with child, are approached in a variety of ways including one very effective moment in which Ng-Rodriguez stares lovingly at her son. No words are conveyed but there is much emotion present in that instant. To the left of this, and in line with Ng-Rodriguez, Diball stands in a similar pose staring out the window. We do not know what she is thinking but there is a smile on her face.

Their thoughts on motherhood and children are expressed with impassioned and humourous scenes, but no judgements are passed on either way they have chosen to lead their lives. What Baby Cake does though is open up conversation on the expectations and demands of motherhood and how we can better support those who choose to have and not to have children and accept their decisions.

Venue: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St, Northcote
Season: until 13 May | Sat 6:30pm, Sun 12:00pm and 6:30pm
Length: 60 mins
Tickets: $28Full | $23Conc
Bookings: Next Wave 

Photo Credit: Sarah Walker

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