Back in June, Advocates for Youth, a D.C. based nonprofit organization and advocacy group dedicated to helping "young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health," contacted me about working with them on a play for their 1 in 3 Campaign. Initially, they asked me to write a one act play, but my schedule wouldn't allow it. Instead, I suggested that we commission local women playwrights to write short monologues and scenes. This way, the stories would come from a rich, diverse perspective and we could champion the voices of local women playwrights. The private reading took place as part of Advocates for Youth Urban Retreat and it was a complete success. Here's more information about the event and the amazing creative team from their press release, which can be read in full by clicking here:
"Today, the 1 in 3 Campaign is proud to announce a transformative theatrical piece that will deepen and expand our understanding of women’s experiences with abortion--Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign.
One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, but for too long the culture of shame and stigma have pushed these stories to the fringes, or worse, into silence. The play will feature a series of vignettes written by a diverse set of multi-generational, female playwrights based on the over 400 stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. The play will be co-produced by Jacqueline E. Lawton and directed by Marie Byrd Sproul.
In the same vein as The Vagina Monologues, Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign will explore a wide range of situations and experiences. The play will continue the 1 in 3 Campaign’s mission to start a new conversation about abortion and move beyond the political rhetoric and divisive debate and will instead highlight the importance of abortion plays in the lives of women.
“Plays have a long history of introducing new perspectives and shifting public discourse, while providing audience with a safe space to grapple with important social issues” says Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “We have been honored to receive these stories from women across the country. Each story is unique and brings a fresh perspective to the issue, but what is most remarkable are the commonalities that bind us. It is our hope that after seeing these plays performed, the audience will understand that women who seek abortion are our sisters, daughters, mothers, and best friends. Our voices need to be heard and we are thrilled to bring that to stage for wider audiences.”
In keeping with the 1 in 3 Campaign’s dedication to highlighting and furthering the activism of Millennials on abortion access, the play will be made available, for free, for youth activists to stage on their college campuses and their communities. The script for Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign will be available on the 1 in 3 Campaign website.
The play is comprised of a series of short scenes, monologues and point-of-views all inspired from the stories of the 1 in 3 Campaign. The first private read-through for youth activists took place early September 2014. Creative team included co-producer Jacqueline E. Lawton, director Marie Byrd Sproul, dramaturgs Hannah Hessel Ratner and Laura Esti Miller, playwrights Allison Currin, DW Gregory, Caleen Jennings, Nicole Jost, Kristen LePine, Soo-Jin Lee, Danielle Mohlman, Mary Resing, Noelle Viñas, and Anu Yadav and actors Lolita-Marie, Patricia Dugueye, Amal Saade and Jennifer Speerstra. A fully produced play will be performed for the public in a professional theater in January 2015 around the anniversary of Roe v Wade.
“It’s been an honor working on this project,” says co-producer Jacqueline E. Lawton. “I was deeply touched after reading the stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign, and I feel that Out of Silence creates room for better understanding of the complexities of people’s lives and the need to protect women’s rights.”
“Bringing this production to the stage has been an insightful experience both personally and professionally,” says director Marie Byrd Sproul. “These stories need to be heard, they need to be brought out for all of us to listen to and respect.”
Here are some wonderful photos from the reading by the brilliant Lloyd Wolf.
Photos of our brilliant and talented cast from the reading.
Photo from our post show discussion with the dramaturgs and playwrights.
Photo of the creative team, who were able to attend.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!