Meet Dad - A successful, career-driven 40-something man who has become a father for the first time. For a man that’s never been out of his depth, boy is he…
On the night of the baby’s birth, Dad finds himself turfed out of the maternity ward, having been told to come back at visiting times.But he’s not a visitor. Is he? Surely visitors are aunties and cousins. He’s the dad… or ‘your husband’… or birthing partner… now over staying visitor… soon to be babysitter…
His identity seems to be determined by everyone else except him. In a world where his wife is ‘Mum,’ and he has been relegated to ‘birthing partner,’ will he ever establish a position of his own?
From the writer of the award nominated ‘The Dateless Wonder,’ comes a brand new comedy about parenting and double standards. Between the stern midwife, the alpha couple that are Jenna & Jayesh, and social norms, what is the role of a dad in this day and age?And does Dad have a name? Well, that will be explained.
Dadism! A solo male show about the experience of an Asian male becoming a first time father in his forties.
It is a comedy about identity; what it means to be a man and father whilst navigating traditional gender roles, and the cultural norm of dads being providers rather than carers.This comedy is the first of a trilogy charting the first three years of a new dad’s experience.
SCENE 1: Bus stop
Lights up. Scene opens on a bus stop. The stop is lit, while the rest of the stage dark, indicating night time. A man (Dad) comes running on, missing the bus by seconds. Seriously?He clocks the audience.
What is it about bus drivers?
When applying for the job, do the bus companies put them through a sadistic bastard test or something?
These drivers can see you running and you're just about to step onto their bus when they’ll close the door and off they shoot, as if channelling Lewis Hamilton.
He checks the timetable.
Ahhh what? An hour!
He sits and waits.
He clocks the audience.
So, here I am. Sat here waiting for the bus - the night bus.
My baby’s just been born; a little girl, born earlier this evening. They’re now settled on the ward and I was told to come back at visiting time… It’ll stay with me forever, that moment when she was born… the moment it happened. That…
Dad stands up and steps into a new scene.
SCENE 2: Delivery room
Dad is now in a delivery room.…
One last push…A baby cries.And there she was.
Our beautiful (Beat) slightly squished, Gulab Jamun [Indian sweet] looking daughter being placed on my wife’s chest for a bit of skin-to-skin contact.
In awe and quite proud, Dad looks around and catches Cynthia, the midwife’s eye.
I was taking it all in, feeling the experience, when, “do you want to cut the cord?” was asked by Cynthia, the midwife.
Dad looks taken aback.
It wasn’t a question! It was sneakily being disguised as one. But no! More like an order, so I wasn’t even sure if it was optional and equally unsure if I should go with my gut instinct and say:
“Thank you for the offer, but on this occasion, I’ll decline, thank you. And thank you for all your hard work. Thank you…”
As if ‘thank you’ was this magical get-out-of-jail card that would, well, get me out of this.
Oh, and naturally, when I say hard work, of course, only a fraction of the ‘hard work’ my wife put in. Anyone working harder than her in that room is not something you ever want to imply. On a side note, all you fathers-to-be out there - you will figure out, quite quickly, that a lot of things you say during pregnancy are wrong.
Even if it doesn’t make sense to you where you actually went wrong, you are wrong. Accept it! So back to the delivery room, Cynthia, the midwife’s “come on then, hurry up, cut the cord…” pressure continued.
There was no getting out of this. Cut the cord? How? I’m right-handed. That’s the hand I’ll be using. That’s the hand my wife had been holding-slash-squashing-slash-fracturing every bone, like a well-hated stress ball.
Cynthia then shoved the scissors into my hand, urging me on. And what I wanted to scream was: “Are you mad woman? I am an exhausted, panicked, dead-hand-ridden bloke with a pair of scissors in my feeling-less limb.”
This was so a Casualty episode waiting to happen. She didn’t tell the wife… Cynthia. All the way through the birth, 37 hours… Not once was it said… “Please refrain from squeezing his dominant hand; he’ll be cutting the cord later.”
No, not a word. She just stood there watching… watching my wife treating my hand like a stubborn OXO cube that’s hard to crumble, as it’s lost its moisture. I had no feeling in it whatsoever.
My brain gave up; forgotten the hand ever existed and stopped sending signals to it. And I couldn’t say anything - I wasn’t the one who had just given birth. It was all stacked against me.
No matter how supportive I was, I wasn’t the one giving birth. I’d spent 37 hours feeling like a contestant in a Japanese endurance game. Couldn’t yelp, or wince… (Almost in tears) I wasn’t the one giving birth.
So that’s why I couldn’t say, “no thanks, my hand hurts.”
And nor should I – when all said and done, I hadn’t given birth. I looked at my wife; she was staring back at me in complete horror, clutching our daughter even tighter.
The fact she had just given birth now paling into insignificance; a mere distant almost pleasant memory by comparison to the potential cord cutting.
She knew what I knew; I knew what she knew. We both knew what Cynthia didn’t know (Beat) I have the hand-eye coordination of a drunken giraffe!
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