We live in a time of paradoxes. The NSW Parliament has just legislated for terminations to be performed from 22 weeks while our public hospitals devote considerable resources to sustaining pre-term babies born from 22 weeks. At the same time, contraception has never been more available or effective.
Many couples expend their resources and emotion on tantalising IVF treatment. We now have so much choice in life but choice can be a source of frustration and unhappiness. The Sydney Theatre Company will shortly (on 29 August) open the play Avalanche: A Love Story by Julia Leigh, a prizewinning Australian novelist and now playwright who has adapted her own memoir for the stage. A woman in her late thirties rekindles an early love which leads to marriage and a wish to have a child. Thus begins the first optimistic visit to an IVF clinic. What follows is a long and costly journey fraught with hope and despair. This co-production with the London Barbican is directed by Anne-Louise Sarks; it is a one-woman show featuring outstanding English actor, Maxine Peake. Audiences will recognise her from numerous BBC television dramas. One of her most successful was Silk, set in London chambers with a number of cases entwined around the competition between Peake’s character and that of Rupert Penry-Jones to achieve silk. Avalanche: A Love Story, a remarkable vehicle for a commanding actor, plays for 90 miniutes without an interval.