Things that do not c(o)unt, VAULT Festival

by an anonymous guest critic

Nastazja Somers’ remarkable and brave one woman show delivers inspiration by the mouthful.

It’s not very often you get to watch someone eat a whole grapefruit on stage, but Somers does just that. As you watch her slowly devouring the fruit, it’s hard to break your gaze as she courageously stands in a defiant red dress that screams Siren.

We quickly learn that this is Somers’ intention as she interweaves personal experiences through the piece with the aid of multimedia and voice-overs. She invites us into snippets of her world as she revels in the control she has over what the audience are about to witness.

Somers boldly declares that she was a child of the Berlin wall, before beautifully blending the Polish and English language to narrate her feelings. Music and traditions are embedded within the piece, which makes the audience feel as though you’re part of this “vodka loving” community.

However Somers quickly breaks this joyous feeling, battling with her personal demons around body conformity, she quite literally fights with grapefruits to symbolise everything she should be striving for as a female in our western society. She decides to smash them in sequence all over the Waterloo East stage, met with gasps from audience members she joyfully drenches herself in grapefruit juice, screaming how “all the women in the world are angry”.

As the piece evolves we see her succumbing to her desires for cake, and seductively revealing her sex filled memoirs, fighting the harrowing voice of her grandmother disappointingly expressing her wishes that Somers was “a bit anorexic”. Somers defies all “theatre norms” with a piece that is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Though some would question if it is more performance art than theatre, it leaves you empowered to challenge the everyday structures we let ourselves be bound by.

Things that do not c(o)unt runs through 18 March.

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