The Emotional Immune System is one of those little gems at the festival. Tucked away in the little studio in Jury’s Inn, although by no means a huge production, it draws crowds aplenty. But, performing it its humble 30-seater venue, crammed into a conference room, Mary Ann Pianka’s monologue series is an extraordinary exploration into the world from a female perspective. Made by women, about women, The Emotional Immune System is a bold and empowering production with three powerhouse performances.
“an outspoken and unashamedly feminist production, portraying a female perspective on issues with a sharp, brutal honesty”
From bereaved families to broken relationships, The Emotional Immune System explores moments of intense emotion, whether they be sorrow, anger, joy or anything in between. Pianka’s writing crafts every monologue with a rhythmic beauty, with luscious, flowing language conveying each emotion with intricate nuance, proving deeply human and recognisable. There is a definite temptation to descend into melodrama with monologue series, but The Emotional Immune System does well to pick and choose its moments of melodrama, very rarely descending into verbose hyperbole. On the contrary, stoic silence is used as a far more frequent and powerful tool than heightened outbursts, injecting the piece with heart-breaking melancholia.
It is worth noting that The Emotional Immune System does view men in a generally negative light. On first impression, it may seem as if it demonises them somewhat, but look deeper and every action committed against these women is far too common in the real world. From running from pregnancy to abusive sex, these are disgusting, selfish acts which still happen all too frequently in our society and at no point does The Emotional Immune System claim that all men act this way, neither does it claim women are always living with hardship or persecution. Rather, it portrays specific events from a specific viewpoint. It is intrinsically biased, but is explicit in its bias and has no qualms in portraying events from one perspective only. After all, it’s not like men are oppressed and need their views on show in the arts, we’ve heard biased masculine opinions for thousands of years already.
The Emotional Immune System is an outspoken and unashamedly feminist production, portraying a female perspective on issues with a sharp, brutal honesty. With considered, ornate writing and spot on performances, The Emotional Immune System is hidden away in one of the smaller Fringe venues, but packs the punch of a big-hitting, established professional production.
theSpace @ Jury’s Inn, August 21st – 26th, 20:05