About 500 -the average number of viable eggs a woman releases in her lifetime- explores the finite nature of female fertility and the affect that this uniquely female pressure has on contemporary women and their relationship with time. The piece experiments with form to create a visceral experience of ‘egg time’, an altered, dislocated, accelerated time endured by women when battling against biological clocks. It also uses bold imagery and documentary material to tell the story of one woman’s race against the clock, as she struggles to conceive in a world where time is already a precious economic commodity.
The average age of first conception for women in the UK is now 30 and climbing steadily. However, the cliff edge of female fertility remains brutal, dropping dramatically at 35, with the result that more and more women find themselves involuntarily childless in their 40s, which in turn has a significant, and seriously overlooked, impact on their mental health. The fundamental disparity between a punishingly finite female fertility and a potentially infinite male fertility remains an issue that our society has failed to address, and something of a blind spot for feminism.
Read an interview in My Theatre Mates here with writer/director Simona Hughes about how the project came about.
“A bold new play for our times exploring important questions about female fertility, family and friendship – it will move you and make you think in equal measure.”
Jessica Hepburn, Founder of Fertility Fest, Author of 21 Miles and former Managing Director Lyric Hammersmith.