I read an early version of Mathilde Dratwa’s play about a woman giving birth in New York on election night 2016 as Donald Trump is swept to power. It is utterly distinctive, utterly itself, some might say impossible to stage. But always one to take on a challenge it is being staged by Theatre 503’s artistic director, Lisa Spirling, and stars MyAnna Buring (so good in Lucy Prebble’s A Very Expensive Poison) as Vera a woman who finds her life and certainties shattered and who wonders how to make a future for her new baby in an America on the brink of change.
Except for Vera, who has to focus on breathing. That’s what everyone keeps telling her: breathe, breathe, breathe. She’s in the hospital, giving birth to a baby boy – and she has no idea that America just lost its mind. Over the course of one seemingly unending year, tensions mount between Vera and her second-wave feminist mother, she struggles to connect physically with her husband, and her friendship with her Syrian-American best friend Amira falters. In this surreal and fragmented play mimicking the experience of sleep-deprived new parents, the personal and the political spheres collide to push Vera to the point of exhaustion. Raising a magnifying glass to the experience of being a new mother under Trump, Milk and Gall explores the terror of the mundane. While everyone else is out marching, Vera’s at home stuck to a breast pump. 2018 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award finalist Mathilde Dratwa holds up a microscope to the experience of being a new mother under Trump. Saturday matinee performances are Pay What You Can, and there are five £5 tickets on offer for every show after Previews.