For her third solo show, writer Amy Mason draws on her experiences as a newly pregnant woman travelling in Texas to research her second novel, which is about life on death row.
With her boyfriend in tow for the trip, and a recent instruction from her GP to come off her psych meds just like that (despite the months spent gently building up the dose), in Hollering Woman Creek Amy is confronted by an American state that puts the well-being of the foetus far above the well-being of the woman carrying that foetus. Posters in bars threaten any pregnant woman even considering a sip of an alcoholic drink; hotel hot tubs are bedecked in labels that they are not suitable for expectant mothers; the list goes on.
What ensues is a touching and thoughtful hour about how frightening it is to face an unplanned pregnancy, and the unique spin created when the women in question is also researching the topic of death row. Amy describes a visit to a death row museum gift shop, where other tourists are posing for selfies with the electric chair while she is left feeling sick and faint at the sight of it.
The title of the show, Hollering Woman Creek, comes from an area in Texas so-named because it is reportedly haunted by the screaming spirit of a grieving mother who has drowned her newborn baby in the water because the father has deserted her. It is claimed that her soul haunts the creek to this day, and if you get too close to the water she might pull you in and drown you, too, believing that you yourself are her baby.
In the show’s culmination, Amy (riddled with prenatal depression and haywire from coming off her medication too quickly) finds herself at Hollering Woman Creek where she must make a definite decision about her future.
On stage with Amy throughout the show are musicians Megan Henwood and Elizabeth Westcott, with a score composed by the multi-award winning Megan. This absolutely completes the show and Megan’s music and voice are very special indeed. (I rushed home and looked her up online.)
Hollering Woman Creek is performed in the Weston Studio at Bristol Old Vic every day until Saturday October 20. Click here for more information and to book tickets.