Director: Nescha Jelk
Playwright: Emily Steel
Performer: Tiffany Lyndall Knight
19 Weeks is one of the most brutal things you will see at Fringe World 2018.
It is brutal in its simplicity, and in its honesty. And on the opening night, some in the crowd had tears in their eyes by the end of it all.
19 Weeks is the story of the playwright, Emily Steel (performed by Tiffany Lyndall Knight), and her recounting all of her 19 weeks of her being pregnant with a baby diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, her decision to terminate the baby and dealing with the emotional aftershock of her decision.
The story’s narrative is framed in a way in which Emily recounts events of every week of the pregnancy, from inception, to the. The descriptions of the events recounted are so vivid, that they double up as a crash course on the abortion process, as well as being just a purely riveting human story that many in the crowd could relate to.
The choice of using an actual pool as a swimming pool as a stage was incredibly effective. Not only was the front row got to skinny deep their heels, but it was also nice for clean, fragrant and spotless space, a generally refreshing change from the usually sticky stages of other venues (props to the Como Treasury Hotel for opening up the pool for this performance) and Emily uses it to evoke the swirling, chaotic emotions of those nineteen weeks.
In a festive festival that brings out the weird, the laughs, the navel-gazing, it would seem that stark, unremitting, honesty might be competing in a tough space. 19 Weeks is well above pushing its weight in that department.
19 Weeks runs until 10 February (i.e 1 and 1/2 weeks)