Amy Atkins greets everyone at the door of the Random Stage at BATS and hands them a menstrual cup. We are asked to return these at the end of the show (damn!). Once we’re in our seats, the sweet childhood exploration of menstruation begins!
period. follows the story of Karla, a young (her age is never quite pinpointed) resourceful girl who gets a big red box with a golden present bow for her birthday. Inside are pads, reusable pads, tampons, tampons with applicators, and menstruation cups. It’s clear she doesn’t know what they are, making armour from the pads (women are powerful, yes!), and thinking an applicator is a lollipop, but she’s having fun figuring it out.
Rather than letting her mother bore her with scientific research, we are invited to join her on the journey. Sometimes quite literally. Atkins, as well has having open expressions, has a warm and kind demeanour which allows the audience to feel comfortable watching her trying to insert a tampon, helping her play a game on stage, and even joining her in learning how to fold the menstruation cup we were given at the top of the show.
While Karla is fun and sweet, the show is broken up with acted verbatim pieces of women’s experiences with menstruation, as well as how mothers teach their own children. While we listen to this, Atkins brings out various puppets: plush satin vulva puppets, tampon puppets on strings, and a small child-sized doll made of pads. These small pieces of performative art help the audience reflect on how we talk and think about menstruation.
Atkins is a giving and entertaining solo performer. Karla hardly speaks, so a lot of our understanding of the story comes through her face, making me instantly fall in love with her character and sympathise with her journey.
I am so pleased to hear period. is going into schools. It deserves it. It’s full of beautiful moments between the audience and Karla, very much present with her by being bathed in the same light, as well as some more reflective poignant scenes.
Everyone, of any age and gender, deserves to see this show – period.
This review was published on Theatreview.