Monologues from eight American female playwrights will be featured in Arena Stage's My Body No Choice, which will play the Kogood Cradle at Washington, D.C.'s Mead Center for American Theater. The new work about women's choices on bodily autonomy will run October 20–November 6.
Playwrights whose fictional and non-fictional stories will be featured include Lee Cataluna (Home of the Brave), Fatima Dyfan (Woolly Mammoth Theatre New Work Fellow), Lisa Loomer (Roe), Dael Orlandersmith (Stoop Stories), Sarah Ruhl (In the Next Room, or the vibrator play), Mary Hall Surface (Perseus Bayou), V, formerly Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues), and “Anonymous.”
The works will explore various topics of bodily autonomy, including the "ability to choose—or not—to have an abortion, to the freedom to choose one’s body size, to making a decision around when to end one’s life." The full cast and creative team will be released at a later date.
My Body No Choice will be Artistic Director Molly Smith’s final production before stepping down.
“To say I was devastated when Roe v. Wade was smashed by the Supreme Court is an understatement,” said Smith. “With the clock being turned back 50 years, women are once again second-class citizens in the United States of America. After reading voraciously about the decision, I knew that I had to quickly make a theatre piece that provided a forum for the shared experience of what this decision feels like to lose this important choice... Now, women need to change the conversation around choices that are being made for them, around the autonomy of their bodies in large part by people who have no experience of what it is like to be a woman. We need to tell our stories; it’s past time.”
Ruhl added, “This moment in America is an all hands on deck situation; artists, thinkers, activists, providers, patients, politicians—we all need to do our part to create visibility around the importance of women’s health and reproductive justice for all people in a post-Roe world. It is a nightmarish situation.”
There are more voices Arena Stage would like to hear from and spotlight as part of this production: "Arena Stage invites all women, trans, and non-binary individuals from all over the United States to share their stories about choices and their bodies, in videos of up to 2 minutes in length. Up to 18 videos will be showcased on Arena Stage’s digital media properties, extending the experience of My Body No Choice long after the lights have come down and the run has ended."