Interviews / TV

Champagna Births Chaos in New Series, “Womb Envy”

The impetus for Womb Envy was a combination of inspiration and herbal magic. “Womb Envy was created from a happy little melting pot of circumstance,” says creator Champagna. “I had just moved to Vancouver for six months to dance and had a lot of time on my hands. I was itching to create something of my own. At the time, I had been living in Edmonton, Alberta for seven years and the thriving theater scene there was very inspiring. If you weren’t creating something, could you even call yourself a theater artist, darling? A friend and I had also just stumbled across Couvade Syndrome during a smoke sesh…so naturally I stared at a wall for an hour and let my mind take the steering wheel.” The show is very loosely inspired by a popular fanfiction trope, Mpreg. “I do have to start with a disclaimer, *we are not following the structures of the traditional Mpreg storyline,* BUT Mpreg is short for ‘Male Pregnancy’ and it’s a thriving online fanfic community involving men or characters who can get pregnant from romantic or sexual situations with each other. I like to read mine with some tea in the morning.”  Main character Max finds himself experiencing pregnancy symptoms that echo Couvade syndrome. “Couvade Syndrome is something that occurs in random men when they feel the need to protect the ones they love, so they will take on some of the physical traits of pregnancy thinking they are ‘providing and protecting.’ It’s real! Look it up.” Skepticism compelled Champagna to explore a pregnancy from a queer perspective. “This whole concept of ‘provide and protect’ within the patriarchy is something I find hilariously offensive, and wanted to explore how easily it falls apart when put to the test. Then adding this particular gay man (Max) to the mix, it also posed the question, ‘What does a seemingly selfish person have to meaningfully do to build strong foundations of love and trust with the ones in their lives?’ I think that is a question a lot of people – not just gay people – should ask themselves more. Y’know?”

Womb Envy is also the first scripted series to be written and produced with Integrated Described Video, making it fully accessible to blind and visually impaired folks. Hopefully many others will follow this trend. “I think we were at the right place at the right time, with a concept in early enough stages of development that our script could be reworked to showcase the ability of IDV. I think there are many people out there who have heard of IDV. but are hesitant to consider it for their projects. In our industry, the phrase ‘show it, don’t tell it” is kind of drilled into you from the beginning of training, but as the world continues to wake up to accessibility, a comedy with some real heart like ours helps people realize that it’s not the big deal our minds are telling us it is. I bet you most won’t even be able to tell that we’ve spent the time to give it the IDV pass.” Max reconnects with estranged and pregnant best friend Maggie, just as a new love enters his life in the form of Patrick. His past and his future are rapidly colliding. “The relationship Max has with Maggie is pretty complex. In a sense, cutting Maggie off when he moved to the city from their small town was an act of survival, so being confronted with the fall out of said completely understandable act, we get to discover with them as they navigate what I was talking about earlier, a strong foundation of love and trust. As for his relationship with Patrick – I feel so bad for Max sometimes. Imagine holding out for your hero for most of your twenties, only to have him show up when you are making a commitment to someone else? They are on the verge of being star crossed lovers…minus the whole death part.” Fate throws Max quite a few curveballs throughout the season. “The Divine really puts him through the ringer,” Champagne reveals. We’ve got time travel, Christmas, flashbacks and all while he tries to conceal his truth. It’s never a dull moment. He can be a little shit sometimes, but our lead actor Daniel Fernandes brings such heart and charm to the role, that it’s virtually impossible to not always be right there with him on his journey.” With a teaser like that, how could we not tune in? Womb Envy premieres May 10th on Amazon Prime and Apple TV+.

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Champagna Births Chaos in New Series, “Womb Envy.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of Project Four PR.

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