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Reviews: 8



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Reviews: 31

FERTILE. A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation.

This award-winning show will be aired via livestream on Thursday, February 11th at 7 pm PST from the Whitefire Theatre, Sherman Oaks, CA. The viewing link will allow for 48 hours to watch the performance. Find ticket link at FertileConversation.com and support “live-ish” theatre in LA!

SELECTED “Best of Fest” for SOLOFEST – the largest solo theatre festival on the West Coast!

WINNER Producers’ Encore Award & NOMINEE Best Solo Performance 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival!

SELECTED 27th Annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival.

NOMINEE Performer of the Decade 2020, Broadway World – Los Angeles

About the show: Jenny has a plan. A plan to get pregnant. Everyone says, time is running out – she just turned 35, after all. So, when those pesky urine tests keep coming back negative, Jenny decides to take action to fix the problem. That’s when she runs into real problems – and real questions about fertility AND motherhood. As Jenny faces the world of “mom options” – egg freezing, in-vitro, adoption, and more – the conversation about the expectation heats up. Taking into account a whirlwind of outside opinions from her friends, her doctors, a beloved neighbor – and even God – Jenny must ultimately look within to discover what motherhood means to her, what it means to be Fertile.

Heather Dowling (Playwright & Performer) premiered her one-woman show, FERTILE at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival, winning the Producers’ Encore Award, and earning a nomination for Best Solo Performance. Heather’s first solo show, UNEMPLOYED. FINALLY, also won the Producers’ Encore Award and Best Solo nomination at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2015. In that show, she brought 39 characters to life and made it all the way to 42nd Street, NYC for United Solo – the largest solo theatre festival in the world. It was during the 2-year run of UNEMPLOYED. FINALLY. that FERTILE started percolating. The moment people responded to most from UNEMPLOYED. was Heather’s personal story of challenges with fertility. Driven by the heartfelt response, Heather decided to share her story more completely and interviewed dozens of women and men to discover, uncover and encourage a conversation about procreation as an empowered choice. Learn more about Heather at HeatherDowling.com.

Jessica Lynn Johnson (Director & Developer) is a published playwright, recipient of BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST AWARD, Board Member of the LA Women’s Theatre Festival, and CEO of Soaring Solo LLC. Jessica has aided in the development of over 75 solo shows. She has “edu-tained” international audiences touring her own one-person shows ZE and OBLIVIOUS TO EVERYONE for over 13 years. As a Director, Jessica’s shows have won awards such as TOP OF FRINGE, ENCORE PRODUCER AWARDS, TVOLUTION BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE, LARRY CORNWALL AWARD FOR MUSICAL EXCELLENCE and several other accolades! Jessica was nominated for Female Director of Distinction in Theatre by Girl Trip LLC at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. She is honored to be a Guide on this incredible solo journey and invites YOU to attend her 100% FREE one person play development class! For more info visit JessicaLynnJohnson.com


Dear Future Audience Members -
I was amazed during the talk back after the show when Heather shared her entrance into the world of Your Solo Theater. "FERTILE" is a master class in this genre.
The character work is brilliant. The fluidity with which Heather switches characters - with a subtle change of facial expression or gesture left me believing that there were a minimum of three actors on stage.
The script - also written by Heather Dowling - is unique in format- so impressive.

I hope you find "FERTILE" to be as deeply touching, moving and inspiring as I do.

sweet - Sheila P Silver

Was thrilled to catch this show. I had heard great things about Heather's humor, timing, and prescence and overall the show in general.
The topic is an ever relevant one to someone that works in the insurance field, talking to the heartache and struggle every day. I was blown away by the depth and emotion in each character. Heather really incapsulated what a woman goes through and the pressures, whether from family, society or self.
Beyond that it is a good show, well rounded, funny and charming. And relevant, not only to someone going through infertility issues, but to life.
10/10 would watch again. If you haven't seen it, you NEED to.

sweet - Lynnette McGee

Heather Dowling's Fertile
A first for such a delicate and relevant issue. Enlightening and Funny.

Wow. Saw Heather Dowling's, Fertile! The seamless dialogue and wonderfully blended scenes made this solo show a must see. Tackling a difficult or taboo topic with ease Heather Dowling brings it all together with a powerfull conclusion. Time flies when your having fun and certainly that was the case here. I was very happy about the Q and A that followed because when the show concludes your ready for more. It was more than entertainment, its messages are vital and make for a unique and highly enjoyable theater experience.

#Fertile #HeatherDowling #WhiteFireTheater

sweet - Kenn Vetter

Heather Dowling is a phenomenal performer and writer. She took a much needed tough conversation and bravely broke it down through seamless well rounded character interactions. She is fascinating to watch and I can't wait to see what she does next!

sweet - Tanya Thomas

Funny, poignant, and amazingly acted by Heather Dowling - she jumps seamlessly between characters bringing them all to life. This was an excellent show!

sweet - Shannon Mier

Truly a remarkable work of art. Heather seamlessly weaves characters and story together in an engaging piece that kept this ADHD-rattled brain engrossed the entire show. Despite not having fertility issues myself, the show spoke to bigger issues of the decisions we make in our lives and why we make them. Heather is a talented (writer and) actress who can blend humor, truth, and humanity into an impressive piece that is entertaining for one and all.

sweet - Dana Keller

Fertile. Is a PHENOMENAL one woman show. It is beautifully written. Heather moves you effortlessly through this incredible subject from so many points of view. It’s FUNNY and ENTERTAINING and TOUCHING! Who knew 1 woman could creat a whole world complete with 13 different characters! Go see it! You will not be disappointed!

sweet - Sharon Stevens

The characters she has created are mostly fictional, and are well drawn out and unique. Her transformations from one character to another are clean, crisp and appear effortless.  Well done.

It would be a mistake to omit mention of the keen direction of Jessica Lynn Johnson, whose expertise has kept many of these solo shows flowing smoothly. The script is packed with humor, but also raises some ethical questions.

sweet - Laura Voeth - Tolucan Times - ...read full review

A balanced, well written theatrical performance on a fragile and important conversation about the agency of women's bodies. Entertaining and educating all at once. A must see for all genders, ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Heather is a masterclass in multiple character performance. I was cracking up and could relate to all the scenarios and most characters. I could tell this was written from an authentic place.

sweet - The MouthPeace

Finally got to see "Fertile!" Heather Dowling - You were Truly AmaZing!
A Tour de Force of Character Work . . . and Edu-tainment‼️
Not to be missed!

sweet - Candace Carnicelli

Fertile is a very funny and honest solo piece about the journey of trying to have a baby. Heather Dowling is such an amazing actor and writer that her performance looks absolutely effortless. There was not a wasted word or action in her story telling. Absolutely one of the best solo shows I've seen.

sweet - Ellen Buckley

FERTILE is a study in how to do character work in a solo show right. Not only is the structure of the show tight and moves flawlessly, but Heather Dowling creates scenes between two (or three) distinct people and takes her time shifting from one to the next as they communicate. Her timing is perfect and her characters are always honest and never rushed.
I loved the tight scene sequences and use of the fourth wall. Character shifts are hard to do well, and Heather nailed all of them.
The show is a terrific blend of comedy, tragedy, drama, and inspiration and Heather is a tremendous performer. Can’t wait to see her next project!

sweet - Matt Ritchey - ...read full review

Heather Dowling's acting is superb!! Her multiple personalities shone through individually with some star moments from her elderly neighbor! I've personally not enjoyed a solo show more than this one!

sweet - Catrina Italiano

Poignant and powerful, Fertile humanizes and puts into perspective the kind of conversations lots of millennials and Gen-Zers are having with their families and friends now when it comes to starting families of their own: that it just isn't as easy as it once was. Myriad reasons affect people of all types and Heather's terrific performance of all the characters she's created tugs on your heartstrings one moment with its realness, and then makes you laugh the next when you realize how absurd some of these conversations can get. Heather's a human dynamo and you can't take your eyes off her for the full 60 minutes as she bounces between personalities like she's flicking a switch. Funny and heartfelt, Fertile is an absolutely terrific show with an important message at its core. Easily the best one-person show I've seen.

sweet - Ray Carsillo

Wonderful show! Funny, touching, enlightening. Seamlessly shifting between a variety of characters, Heather Dowling is a joy to watch on stage.

sweet - James Ryan

Heather. Full Stop. She was amazing.
She grabbed me immediately with her exceptional skill at characterization. Frankly, being born in a different social background and having the absolute opposite problem (how NOT to get pregnant) I thought I wouldn't be able to relate. However, her wry humor and boundless energy pulled along in her journey. I would actually love to see this concept expanded to include women from many backgrounds and fertility issues. It's an exceptional idea.

sweet - Jennifer Chun

Heather Dowling is a stand-out performer who transitions seamlessly between characters.
Heather Dowling is a fantastic performer. She's incredibly engaging and commits to each character fully. My favorite character is the old neighbor - absolutely hilarious.
This is challenging subject matter for me to invest in because I've never had even the slightest inkling toward motherhood. So while it's completely out of my grasp of understanding why anyone would put themselves through so much for something I cannot understand wanting in the first place, I go to the theatre to be lifted out of my own experience. And while I relate in no way to the concept of desiring motherhood, Heather took me on a journey that reminded me that it's not about WHAT you want and not getting it so much as it about learning to let go, and let your life unfold as it was meant to. Brava to brave women like Heather telling the hard stories!

sweet - Marnie Olson

What a truly lovely show! Touching and funny and a true glimpse into the complexities of fertility and women's societal roles. Heather Dowling bravely takes the stage solo embodying several characters as she take us on this personal journey. She is wonderful in her storytelling. Jessica Lynn Johnson also needs mention for her great staging of the play taking us to several different places on one small black box stage. Congrats the team for this must see performance!

sweet - Susan Dalian

What I liked

The stirrups scene at the doctor’s office and when she’s trying the “turkey baster method” to become pregnant with her legs up were both done so effortlessly and hilariously, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.
Also, the old lady living next door who becomes her sounding board and has the best advice that Heather ever needed to hear. That she is enough.
What I liked is how she explores every scenario of fertility and motherhood, not only her experience but the experience of other women who are mothers, mothers-to-be or those who’ve sworn off motherhood altogether. It offers all the alternatives and poses the question: which one you identify with and why?
Develop into a Netflix series and I’ll sign up to watch!

My overall impression

Heather did a phenomenal job embodying all the characters in her one woman show. It was like watching Cybill, but less traumatic.

sweet - Victor Sotomayor

Quiet joys and disappointments make up most of our lives, and navigating them remains the focus of this lovely and intimate tale. We care about Jenny and her friends. We grow to know her (and her husband) better and better, so in this honest and startling (as well as funny) odyssey we increasingly understand. We hopefully gain a little of the wisdom they do. Drop by drop. Each one precious. Each one to be savored.

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - ...read full review

Heather is an incredible solo performer. You know instantly that you are in good hands with her. Her character’s specificity and ability to choose just the right amount of just the right words to tell the story is truly a gift. The show is sneakily educational, hiding facts in clever dialogue, but also clearly painting the full picture of society’s judgment and opinions. It was witty and relatable – and masterfully tackles a topic that is inexplicably taboo with true grace.

sweet - April Wish

“Fertile” is an absolutely brilliant piece of solo theatre…perfection...

Heather has a way of morphing from character to character and back to herself that belies belief. At one moment she is absolutely herself, the next she flits at light speed into another position and becomes an ancient next door neighbor, or her ‘chill’ husband or an effervescent acupuncturist or her mother anxiously on the phone and on and on and on...

Masterful is a term I would apply to Heather Dowling and her miraculous and heartfelt soloist abilities. She is comic and moving, honest and profound. This is solo work at its most meaningful and excellent….loved it!!! If you are lucky enough to get your mitts on a ticket you will be eternally grateful to have done so. Bravo!!!!!!!

sweet - Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros - NoHo Arts District - ...read full review

Heather Dowling uses her body, voice and face to bring each character to life, playing with their posture, where they carry their weight – essentially using every tool in the shed to bring them to life.  It’s interesting to watch a woman invest in this journey, sharing her story about something that was once the sole factor that made the difference between a good life and a bad one for women.  More conversations like this will only help to demystify the whole female experience in our culture and may make more of us feel less alone.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Heather stated that her goal was to start a “conversation on the expectation of procreation” and I felt like her show NAILED IT! Heather is a talented actor who was able to portray so many distinct characters with honesty and truth. I liked that the show did not offer any definitive answers or resolutions for Jenny and that is how Heather was able to achieve her goal of starting the conversation. It’s the kind of show that I’ll talk about for a while with my husband, my family, and my friends.

sweet - Christi Pedigo

There is a good reason this is one of the toughest tickets at Fringe to get. That reason is Heather Dowling. The definition of each character is so specific and wonderful. She sets down the gold standard of what a solo performance should be.

sweet - Jim Blanchette

Heater Dowling takes a situation that too many of us are unfortunately familiar with and crafts a funny and touching tale of a a couple’s ordeal in conceiving a child. She plays a plethora of characters, all distinct and all seem to be people we all know which helps make this piece really hit home. From the old lady confidant to the sometimes befuddle husband and the woman who is confident in her choice to never have kids, you will recognize everyone because Heather brings them all to life! Solo shows are a lot more difficult than people realize and this one is pulled off splendidly. You’d be hard pressed to find a better solo show! There is a wait list for a reason. It's a great performance by a charismatic and talented woman in a terrific show that does not end the way you think it’s going to. Highly recommended!

sweet - Matt Morillo

This one woman show is so important and so well written and well acted. I was extremely impressed with how honest it was in the difficulties some women face in trying to get pregnant or even deciding if they should have children. There were also many comedic moments. Heather Dowling is so talented; she was able to portray multiple characters and fully commit to each one and they were all distinct enough so no one would get confused, the script was strong and realistic as well as entertaining and the main character relatable. I was completely drawn in and engaged the whole time! I laughed, I cried, I was very moved and it has made me think a lot about society's emphasis on women and pregnancy.

sweet - Jenni Halina

A beautiful, funny, vulnerable and real look into something that isn’t openly talked about enough.
Heather is not only a powerhouse of a performer but also a highly skilled storyteller. Her performance is nuanced and specific and full of heart.
Fertile is a show that everyone should see. For some it the subject matter will ring true, for others it will be educating (in the funniest of ways) and for some it will provide peace and freedom, knowing that their own struggles and thoughts got to be heard.

sweet - jannica olin

Heather Dowling is a fabulous writer. Let's start there. She comically unfolds her journey so expertly that we hardly notice the pain (but it’s still there in just the right amount). She has a great way of expressing herself in a way that is completely relatable, whether you have kids or not. We’ve all desperately wanted something that was unattainable, and Heather bundles up that anguish and delivers it with laughter through tears. Plus, she is a master at characters. She believably transforms herself from one person to the next in a second. You almost think you’re seeing different people. Keep writing and performing, Heather. I'm a huge fan and I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

sweet - Stacy Dymalski

Wow! I am impressed with the solo show "FERTILE" performed by the talented Heather Dowling. The show is intelligibly and humorously written with many touching moments that make you laugh then cry, it takes on a big issue plaguing many women and men with a fresh perspective that isn't usually shown or talked about and the specificity of each character is brought to life by Heather's amazing acting chops. I've seen a few solo shows and none are anything close to this one. I highly recommend watching this show.

sweet - Jessica Boss

A magnificent, empowering, and accomplished show – Fertile is elegantly composed and skillfully performed by its talented creator, Heather Dowling  recounts a brilliant relatable story all within an hour masterfully switching between multiple characters with ease, this is an important message which can be encouraging to all individuals, not just those who have experienced issues with infertility.

sweet - Mike Reyes - Mike Check - ...read full review

So many of us have always taken having children for granted. Thanks to the comic genius of Heather Dowling, we will never think of that topic in the same way we have before. Dowling delivered a gem in her last Fringe show back in 2015, the only year we did not attend, so we were determined to catch her latest show, and we’re so glad we did. She walked us through all the nuances of the assisted fertility industry, keeping this serious subject light-hearted and full of memorable moments.

sweet - Bob Leggett - LA Music Critic - ...read full review

Simply good writing right out of the gate and truly masterful character work. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Tracey Paleo - Gia On the Move - ...read full review

So so sweet! Once again Heather has knocked one out of the park in this touching, funny and very informative, I must say, solo show about a couple's struggle with becoming parents. Heather's characterizations of the couple, her friends and the medical, and dare I say spiritual advisors, were spot on. Heather also was brutally honest, not fearing to say or explore the things we often don't want to say out loud. My highest recommendation.

sweet - Margaret Mendenhall

Highly-recommended! I loved Heather’s first solo show, UNEMPLOYED. FINALLY. and I was excited to fall in love with this show too. And I did. Heather is a wonderful, endearing performer and she bravely puts herself in the middle of a complicated and personal examination of what it means to be “fertile” — or not — in our society. This is a funny, sincere, heart-warming exploration of one woman’s attempts to navigate trying to get pregnant, friends who are/have been/don’t want to be and all of the opinions, advice and medical treatments she encounters in-between. This is a timely topic as so many women are facing similar struggles and trying to figure out whether they REALLY want to have children, or they’ve just been indoctrinated into believing they should to live a full life. Go see this show! :)

sweet - K Walker

In this sparkling one-woman show, Heather Dowling allows us to tag along on her personal journey of non-momhood. She deftly weaves together humor and grit as she tackles the conversation everyone is nervous to broach: fertility. Dowling is vulnerable, charming, and accessible; the show feels like having a chat with a best friend. Be you a parent or childfree, it’s an honest peek behind the curtain of a taboo subject, with warmth, humor, and a refreshing cast of original characters, all played by Dowling herself. Everyone, get Fertile!

sweet - Elizabeth Hackett

Heather takes an often taboo subject that no one ever talks about and places it front and center. She is at ease on the stage and has no problem switching between characters. Heather has this maternal nature that makes you wanna run on stage and give her a big ol’ hug! Also, I’ve never seen a solo show without a narrator that appears throughout the show and so I thought Heather’s decision to not have one was really cool, unique, and makes her show stand out.

sweet - Lara Repko