POST: 'Ironbound' - Darja was the epitome of a single mother
What's it about?
Darja is a 40 something year old women waiting for a bus that will never come.
What'd Christine experience?
After having seen Utility at the Rattlestick Theatre I was kind of nervous about seeing another play focused on a woman. My last experience left me angry with the female character, because of her lack of respect toward herself and kids. I was ecstatic to see that Darja was the complete opposite. She had three pivotal relationships in her life, but in each unfortunately there was something always missing. Whether it was security, money, or stability Darja was tired of waiting and so starts demanding more from the men who keep promising her more.
Darja has managed to lose the love of her life, lose her son, and lose her home. As she finds herself at a vacant bus station in a Waiting For Godot situation, her latest boyfriend,Tommy, attempts to get her back after having slept with her boss, an older wealthy women who Darja is a maid for. What I loved about Darja is how much she valued herself. There was one part where Tommy tries to threaten her with exposing a sex tape they had made before. This was the best reaction I could ever imagine a women having, all Darja did was laugh and tell him go ahead “Nobody knows me in this country. I am nobody here”, and it was so freaking true who was gonna care about an immigrant polish women’s sex tape. Then again I would love to see the Kardashian effect on Darja. That would be interesting.
After breaking up (sort of) Tommy runs off saying that he’d rather be with the older women, given that she didn’t carry the burden of a delinquent son. Once again Darja didn’t disappoint, she quickly responded by saying that she would never stop trying to protect and provide for her son, he was all she owned and could really call her own. At that point I was really hoping that Darja was based on someone real or at least that someone out there is brave enough to protect their own in such a selfless way. She wouldn’t hesitate to protect what's her’s, even if it was causing her pain. For me, Darja was the epitome of a single mother, I’ve met my fair share of single mum’s and can honestly say that there are a lot of kids out there with mother’s that they don’t deserve and even then their mum’s would do anything for them.
Life is truly unfair to some, and unfortunately Darja’s life was filled with a lot of loss. Her American journey also opened my eyes to just how much fulfilling a dream can change someone. In a flashback I got to see what Darja was like it the first couple years she was living in the US, she was filled with hope and desperation to succeed, but then comparing her to her future self she slowly loses that hope and begins to settle. All the lovers that followed after her first husband, were always missing something. If they had money then there was no love or faithfulness and vice versa.
Finally, Darja reaches a point in which I feel like she makes a compromise with herself, and she isn’t settling because then I would hate her, but she finds that for the path her life has chosen to take her she is going to have to make some compromises. The reason why I don’t consider it settling is because Darja (unlike some women) knows what she is worth and demands to be treated as so. She takes back her boyfriend on the condition that she provides her ‘services’ as a women in exchange for faithfulness and financial stability. I really think when a women shows that she knows what she’s worth the world soon follows, which is why her dumbass boyfriend begs and pleads on his knee (yeah one knee) for her and quickly agrees with the arrangement. In some ways, this is what Darja has to manage with in order to provide for her son, who is really the only person she is willing to love to a fault.
I’m so glad that I got to see this play, it’s awesome to see strong women portrayed in such a light. There really are these magical creatures that manage to be incredible mothers, incredible daughters, and just incredible humans - who are often more ruthless than men when it comes to protecting what is theirs.