SeetheRED’s offers a cathartic exploration of endometriosis

Culture
Photo titled ‘SHARPPAIN’, from left to right: Kapila Rego, Rahat Saini, and Arielle Permack. Photo by Zoë Wessler.

SeetheRED is a production about four women who discuss their experiences with the medical system. The play shows how the system has failed them as they desperately try to be seen, taken seriously, and finally be allowed to be treated and to heal. It is a raw look inside intimate experiences, told entirely in monologue and staging. 

SeetheRED will have their last show on the 24th. Tickets can be purchased at the Intrepid Theatre website here.

“SeetheRED is a very cathartic, funny and angry exploration of the pain of women and people with uteruses deal with and often that pain is dismissed,” explained one of the stars of the show, Rahat Saini, who plays Cerise. “It’s sort of a celebration and an acknowledgement all of the same time and it will probably connect with people who have experienced any of the issues that we discuss in the show.” 

UVic theatre alumna Zoë Wessler is the writer/director. The show was inspired by her experiences with the medical system and endometriosis.

“I was basically journaling, writing, ranting about my frustrations with the medical system and having endometriosis,” Wessler said. “Then it expanded into a character with endometriosis, and then, three other women joined the party because I was also starting to research more about other reproductive health and reproductive rights issues for women and people with uteruses and ovaries.”

The show itself is very well acted, with each actress able to balance both the humour they use to deal with their situation as well as the trauma. Some characters definitely leaned more on the seriousness of their situation, and others were able to joke about it more, but it was balanced in such a way that it didn’t feel like the humour and the serious moments were regulated to one character in particular. 

After a year of seeing Zoom shows, it’s really nice to see a show in person and have the actors use the stage again to help tell the story. It’s fascinating to see how someone can use nothing but four chairs and four curtains to change scenes, evoke mood, and help amplify the acting. 

I personally felt the ending didn’t land as hard as it could have. The ending would have worked with characters final decision. It was a clear, but still thematically ambiguous enough note with them making a choice despite the unclear future outside the clinic. But instead, they took the final minutes to what felt like a lecture to the audience by explicitly explaining what didn’t need to be explained. 

Despite a weak ending, I still recommend that if people are interested in checking out the Fringe this year, definitely check it out. It’s full of some heavy topics, but well acted, well staged, and still entertaining. As the cast expressed, but it’s a conversation that does need more traction.

Ultimately, Wessler and the actors see SeetheRED as a way to get the conversation rolling around reproductive issues as it relates to people with uteruses. “An acknowledgement [is] posted outside of the theatre about how the show is written from a place of privilege and white experiences,” Wessler said. “I’m super grateful and acknowledge my privilege in writing the show and the medical system. I would love to see a show from a different perspective, from a non-cis or non-white woman’s experience with the health care system, so maybe it will inspire other people to write shows and talk about their experiences.”

“These conversations, they don’t happen that often and if the show creates any opportunities to create conversation, like even just to talk about the things people have gone through, and to help people feel seen through the stories we’re telling, I think it’s a job well done.” expressed Saini.

While the show itself is written from a certain perspective, Wessler hopes that it may inspire other women and people with uteruses to either feel more comfortable speaking of their experiences or creating art to reflect that. Wessler herself was inspired to speak to her pain by seeing a post on Instagram describing the symptoms of endometriosis. 

“If seeing the show makes one person go to their doctor and advocate for their pain and feel the support to stand up for themselves, I think that our job’s done.” Wessler said.