Monday, February 13, 2017

"Roe"

[Quick programming note:I will get back to the 7 Posts about "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" tomorrow.]
I saw "Roe" at Arena Stage this weekend.  While I am familiar with the outcome of Roe v. Wade, and knew a little about the woman, who for the purposes of the case, was referred to as Jane Roe, but that was kind of it.  The play looks at Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued the case, and Norma McCorvey, who was Roe. The pay used a very interactive form of telling these two stories, often directly addressing the audience, working to put the events in context of the era, and often addressing shifts in the information available about certain characters, and also trying to tell each person's story in a way that honored the ways they have chosen to share.  So, we mostly got information about Sarah's professional life, some personal details being revealed later, while Norma we got a lot of information about because she has shared a lot about herself, while Sarah's tried to focus more on the case. 
Norma's longtime partner Connie is also prominent in the play, as are some of the Operation Rescue folks who ended up converting Norma.  (Speaking to the interactivity, there was a moment when Flip comes onstage and thanks the audience for coming out today and asks if the folks in the back can here. Some of the folks in back said yes.  He thanked them.  And then one felt compelled to add, "I don't like what you're saying though." He smiled and thanked her for listening.)
It's a tough thing to try to create a play that accurately reflects the stories of two folks whose lives touched for a huge moment, but otherwise have been very different, and while Sarah remained steadfast on her view of the case and the law, Norma's ideas have changed.  The show is interesting, thought provoking, and the kind of thing folks were talking about in the bathroom line afterwords.  

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