Edinburgh Fringe 2010
A story of the choice a woman makes alone – the choice about terminating a pregnancy in a play by Sheila Duncan.
Performed by Tamara Lee, and directed by Michael Allen, A Solitary Choice is writer Sheila Duncan’s exploration of the trauma if terminating a pregnancy.
The gameplan of life that never unravels as we would wish or predict. The inevitability of certain happenings in our life. The seduction of a flute… The territory of this play is richly landscaped with emotion, the profound yet practical questions of life. Carlos steps before her, a married woman, and there is the temptation, the taste of flight, that so many of us realise we have lost in our wretchedly contented routines. A moment of surrender and then consequences that rip into the heart of our life stories – here is the heart of this fine piece of writing. And our central character becomes faced with a solitary choice, one only she can make.
Sheila Duncan’s story play is crisply written and wholly accessible
right from the word "sheep". Tamara Lee gives a strong, and very believable performance, though was a little hesitant on script on one or two occasions.
This is also a play about the philosophy of freedom. Is choice
conscious in itself? Are consequences logical alone or also
retributional? Yet, as the nurse reminds her, there’s always a
The only colour is a light purple shirt, all else – props and set are
black and grey – under white light – echoing the ultimately black and white decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy or not. And there’s no linking music, unneeded light changes – we have performer and story and economic use of stagecraft – this
makes for an uncluttered, bold and simple piece of story performance. There was one exception to this, where she erupts into anger under devilish red light, and it felt unnecessary to the production.
"A little weed that has rooted in the wrong soil". This is how she
describes the baby growing inside her. On the one side are the
consequences both imagined positively and also fearfully, on the other there is unfolding reality pointing towards a more grounded set of outcomes.
The play contains shattering moments and yet there’s also a quality that tells the tale not with moralising, but with moral force – a force which guides us, leads us by its skilfully narrating hand through what is still difficult even taboo territory for many people, even cultures. Top class writing, a highly recommended play.