10- 20% of women suffer from postpartum depression. In Porcelain, Hat is suffering with it, to the point of giving her baby away.
Anything up to 33% of women suffer from depression. Bridget Cleary is possibly suffering from it, to the point of her husband burning her to death because he thinks the fairies have taken her away.
There is no percentage for how many women want to be replaced by changelings. But there should be.
Given the amount of 'shoulds' women grapple with (should be a better wife, should feel nothing but overwhelming love for a baby, should not want for anything vaguely inconvenient to those around them), it’s no wonder these two women might be tempted to get replaced and have a fairy carbon copy of them take over their lives.
I 'should' probably write a more in-depth artistic response to Porcelain but I’m writing this on International Women’s Day.
Margaret Perry has written a play with four stellar roles for female actors. We have a wealth of talented actresses in Ireland. These are the kind of roles deserving of that talent. These women/changelings are ambiguous, nuanced, erratic. They feel ugly feelings. They hurt the ones they love. They don’t always love. They don’t always make sense to themselves or those around them. They resist definition.
Porcelain is occasionally flawed. I drifted away a few times. There is a gorgeous red ladder on stage that is never, at any point, used. But if Margaret Perry is going to keep representing women on stage like this, and creating roles like this, I 100% don’t mind.
Aíne for DRAFF
Porcelain, written by Margaret Perry and directed by Cathal Cleary, runs at the Peacock Theatre until March 10th.
Image: Ros Kavanagh