Comedy material with Menopause as the subject matter.
Genre widens choice enabling an audience to identify characters, plot line and greatly enhance the chosen experience. Whether it be film, tv, stage or literature. Just as the coming-of-age genre focuses on young adults, offering education for the younger viewer and a nostalgic dance with memories for its older audience. The Menocom spotlights comedy with peri-menopause and menopause at its core. Characteristics are included to define the content and diverse narratives to include all, as every single female will experience menopause at a certain stage of her life. Why Menocom? Because for too long the woman has been the butt of the joke, by-passing any reference to the menopause itself. And of course, just as we’ve seen in the coming-of-age genre, the Menocom explores a life transition not only for the protagonist but those around her. Through the vehicle of comedy the Menocom educates, entertains and dilutes taboo for both the female and male audience.
When writing Menopause Party, I was eager to entertain and enlighten others of my own experience the best way I know how, through comedy. As I tapped “menopause shows’ into the void of the World Wide Web, I excitedly wondered if I would have the time to research everything in the genre. Turned out I needn’t have worried, as the only show to reveal itself was Menopause the Musical Considering menopause affects half the planet, I was somewhat gobsmacked. As my show developed over the next few years so did the menopause conversation in the media. Working with Channel 4 Davina McCall and Kate Muir exploded onto household mini screens daring to talk menopause in its full glory. Since then, an avalanche of conversations trend on social media. Of course, that is not to say campaigners haven’t been spreading the M word for some time and indeed built a a solid foundation for menopausal discourse to continue. But to hear Coronation Street is using a menopausal story line, one can only ponder as to why to why it has taken so long for us to bring this life transition into mainstream entertainment. In earlier generations, the lack of education and a collective agreement in keeping the menopause hidden away has empowered what must be the last social taboo. It is evident, through social media participation and changes in the workplace policies, both women and men want guidance, answers that can be safely explored. As proven in the the coming-of-age genre, what better way than under the guise of comedy with menopause at the centre? We have seen entertainment include throwaway comments towards the middle-aged woman, enhancing her as the joke.
Plot lines should not be limited to menopausal manifestations in the individual, but the impact of the menopause to her and those around her at that point in time.
Without doubt its a delicate balance of laughing at the menopause rather than with it, but if we can laugh with it, isn’t the risk and rewards better than staying silent?
Fast forward to current day and I’m relieved to say the Menocom landscape tells a different story. No longer is it just snippets of female comedians giving us useful and entertaining sets on You Tube. On prime tv shows, like Have I Got News for You we see Kathy Burke referencing the menopause. In season two of Fleabag, Kristin Scott Thomas as Belinda gives a soliloquy on menopause and embraces the change, offering hope and joyful indifference to Waller-Bridges character Fleabag. When Fleabag says, I was told it was horrendous” Belinda states “It is horrendous, but then its magnificent. Something to look forward too.”
Through comedy, we can engage with the menopause. Comedian Bridget Christie is currently touring and selling out with her one woman show Who Am I? Landing a Channel 4 menopause comedy “The Change” Menopause shows are popping up at fringe festivals across the country, both women and men are keen to be entertained by this genre. Just like a book end to the first coming-of-age sample they’ve already experienced, only this time without the periods. There is an opportunity to create a positive mindset to assure younger generations, future employers and create a collective acknowledgement and understanding to those in the moment, so to speak. To take time to learn about ourselves and create a new relationship with our own identity and perhaps explore relationships in a new way.
Just think Romcom with a different kind of Rom…
In time other genres will shoot off the menopause spider graph, where we will see films marketed as a Menodram, dramatic stories not suitable under a comedic category. Yet it would share the same principles. Depicting character life experiences, sharing menopause impact and social awareness in any setting. This will come as story lines develop, currently we need to assure and empower. Comedy can do this. It is not gently knowing on the door of the menopausal taboo, it smashes it down with every laugh diluting any shameful hold it has on any one individual, female or male. Furthermore the Menocom can explore ageism itself, creating material not only around the affects of menopause but with changes that occur with the natural process of ageing. Indeed, it is at this point the Menocom leads the way in celebrating another passage of life that has hardly been spoken about since the beginning of time.