TWO AUDIENCE MEMBERS, TWO PERSPECTIVES, ONE PLAY
At our reading on June 11 of Pregnant Pause, we were lucky enough to have a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints represented; even activists on both sides. We had a really generous and lovely conversation (you can read more about the reading here). Our team had worked hard to make the play objective; this is definitely a collaboration between pro-life and pro-choice theatre artists. We were excited and a little nervous to see how it would pay off.
I asked two audience members, both of whom were at the reading on June 11, to anonymously give us their thoughts on the play. Here’s what they said.
PRO-CHOICE AUDIENCE MEMBER
“Pregnant Pause is a complex and in depth portrait on one woman’s thoughts and feelings surrounding her pregnancy. What the piece achieves – brilliantly, I believe- is portraying a woman’s story with such nuance that it is impossible to make the questions, judgments and accusations surrounding abortion black and white, as we often do when we talk about abortion. I am pro-choice, vocally and proudly so, and in many ways the complexity of this story reaffirms the reasons why I am. But the piece itself is not about politics and it does not take sides. It does not attempt persuade, merely to consider. It focuses the lens onto what we are actually talking about when we speak about reproductive rights, women and their lives.”
PRO-LIFE AUDIENCE MEMBER
“Kathleen’s play prompted one of the most honest and respectful conversations about abortion between people of differing beliefs that I’ve seen. As someone who believes in each human being’s right to life, including that of developing unborn children, the play made me think about how too often as a society we pressure women (and men) to treat children as a burden and an obstacle to career success – even though none of us would ever want to be treated as a burden ourselves. The play’s tackling of the “hierarchy of disability” was also thought-provoking: Why is it monstrous to consider a child disposable if she has the wrong color eyes, but laudable to dispose of her if she would require significant medical care? At what point is an unborn child’s life “not worth living,” and how does our conclusion affect how we treat people already born into the world (such as the elderly, the mentally handicapped, and the chronically ill)? It was also helpful to see a person honestly struggling with the good reasons both for and against proceeding with her pregnancy; the play effectively dramatized how difficult the actual decision is in an actual person’s life, challenging our inclinations to make black-or-white judgments. If it did anything, it increased my empathy for women (and men) struggling with the question of whether to abort, and challenged me to think about how we can welcome and support children and parents without judgment or fear.”
I’m really proud to call both of these folks my friends. It’s been an honor to have their support during this process, and it would be an honor to have yours, too.