Fertile Review – A Mother’s Dilemma

Heather Dowling in FERTILE - Photo by Matt Kamimura

The Whitefire Theatre again returns to its Best of the Fest – a reprise of performances at the Solofest at the beginning of 2020. Also, of course, before the advent of the novel corona virus – or at least before the world acknowledged a pandemic which would grow to worldwide proportions within mere months. Heather Dowling wrote and first presented her solo show FERTILE last summer to rave reviews and sold-out houses. Directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, the “Best of the Fest” performance also won several awards for excellence. Heather performed for a live audience at the Whitefire Theatre in January 2020; and the Whitefire Theatre is currently streaming her live show beginning Thursday, July 30, 2020.

Heather Dowling – Photo by Matt Kamimura

FERTILE digs into a tough topic feet-first – the issue of fertility in today’s world. Based on some of her own experiences during the struggle to conceive, Heather Dowling has brought an authenticity and honesty to a topic often swept under the rug: To be or not to be – a mother. Equipped with a dark stage and a table, chair, and bed, Heather wrings life from the many people she must deal with during her reproductive skirmishes.

Heather Dowling – Photo by Matt Kamimura

FERTILE is really a play peopled by multiple characters – from wannabe-mom 35-year-old Jenny to her understanding but sometimes confused husband to her compassionate, elderly next door neighbor to the many health care practitioners she grapples with in her efforts to reach her goal. Heather becomes each character with force and competence as she breathes life into them and her story unfolds. Heather spares not one iota of pain or pleasure as she dives deep into the tale of a couple who dream of becoming parents.

Heather Dowling – Photo by Matt Kamimura

Clearly, this is a play which will touch those many couples who have tried – successfully and unsuccessfully – to become parents. A feeling of truth pervades the entire show. As Heather noted in the past, “I have had so many people come up to me after the show and say thank you…they say things like ‘This is my story’ or ‘I can’t tell you how much this helped me…it’s kind of overwhelming.’” Beyond this obvious audience, however, this is a production which resonates in its honest account of a traumatic situation and will appeal to people who have faced many types of painful experience in their lives.

Heather Dowling – Photo by Bryan Rasmussen

FERTILE is also a play which lends itself to streaming. It is an intimate story told in an intimate setting. It is almost as if Jenny is telling all her secrets to her best friend while the two sit comfortably in their living room. Even the dark theater and the simple casual clothing lend themselves to quiet and cozy confidential camaraderie. The Whitefire Theatre again presents just the perfect show on the perfect platform.

FERTILITY can be streamed as a pay-per-view show from the Whitefire Theatre’s library. Tickets are $9.99 with a small service fee. For tickets and information, call Whitefire at 818-687-8559, go online to the Whitefire Theatre, or go online.

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