Laughing about ‘the change’

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Menopause. Women dread it. Men fear it.

From the hot flushes, mood swings, to memory loss and sleepless nights, those going through ‘the change’ can tell you it’s not a fun time.

But it’s for that reason that US writer and producer Jeanie Linders was inspired to create a tribute to all things menopausal.

Since reaching Australia’s shores in 2001, ‘Menopause the Musical’ has since had over 50,000 Aussie women come along to join in the celebration of women on the brink, in the middle of, or those who have conquered menopause.

With her new life motto, ‘If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry’ coming out of her own experiences with menopause, Queensland director, writer and actress Alli Pope said she jumped at the opportunity to tour the production in Australia.

“I knew that there were a lot of ladies out there struggling with menopause after I hit that milestone myself,” she said.

“So, when we had the opportunity to tour it, I said ‘let’s do it’ because for a start it would be a lot of fun and we’d also be able to get people to dance and laugh about something that affects 90 per cent of the female population in a big way.”

Set in a department store, the musical follows four women with seemingly nothing in common but a black lace bra on sale, who come to find they have more to share than first imagined.

With a sisterhood forming between the diverse women, they start to realise that menopause is no longer “the silent passage”.

Playing the ‘Dubbo housewife’, Alli said that while there might still be some stigma around this particular stage of a woman’s life, she believed that laughing about its ups and downs has helped to make the topic more approachable and easy to talk about.

“It’s inevitable for most women to experience it,” she said.

“While there was a little stigma attached to the word menopause, turning it into a musical I think has made a hell of a difference to that.”

The musical parody, which is staged to classics from the 60s, 70s and 80s, isn’t just for those experiencing the change, with everyone invited to come along.

‘Menopause the Musical – Women on Fire!’ will be on at the Evan Theatre on Friday, May 18 at 8pm. Tickets are $49.05. Call 1300 PANTHERS.

Lauren Suttie

Lauren Suttie is the Weekender’s General & Community News journalist.

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