The Abortion Monologues – an amazing evening of theatre & community

A full house was treated to a wonderfully moving – and sometimes funny – evening of women’s stories of their abortion experiences as Alumnae Theatre staged its one-night only benefit performance of The Abortion Monologues. And the cast was treated to a standing ovation for its efforts at bringing these characters to life.

A couple dozen people stayed for the talk-back with playwright Jane Cawthorne, co-producer/coach/actor Dinah Watts and cast. The good news is this collection of monologues left folks wanting more: a broader diversity of experience (esp. regarding ethnicity and sexual orientation) was mentioned most often. Jane had originally drafted some 100 monologues and had to pare it down to make for a reasonable running time – and she found that some spoke of experiences already covered in others. And so she edited it down to 23, 20 of which we performed last night. It was pointed out that, for this performance, the cast was chosen from among the Alumnae membership – and a full production would have an open casting call and thus include the full cast of characters, including characters from the scripted ethnic groups. These characters are not based on specific individuals/stories, but inspired by stories Jane has heard from various women about their experiences in making this choice.

Folks from both Planned Parenthood and Choice in Health – the two organizations we were raising money for – were on hand with info for the audience. Choice in Health had an amazing banner, with personal notes from clients written around the organization logo. Messages like: “Guilty. Selfish. Scared.” and how Choice in Health made her feel comfortable. Other messages to thank the organization/staff for their compassion. We raised about $2,000 for the two organizations, which included donations from the cast and crew.

On a personal note, I was honoured and happy to have the opportunity to perform in this reading, working with this script and this group of women. And, girls, we rocked!

There is a huge amount of enthusiasm about the idea of including The Abortion Monologues as part of Alum’s season in 2011-12. I say we go for it.

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