In this play, twenty three women reveal the details of their lives, relationships and families as they tell the stories of their abortions. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always thought provoking, these monologues exist in stark contrast to the real world in which women seldom publicly discuss this choice. The characters in this play face everyday hardship, financial crisis, relationship break down, illness, death, radical shifts in expectations and the truth about themselves and their own deepest desires. They challenge you to think again about what you believe and why you believe it.
I no longer produce hard copies of the play but it is still available as an ebook. Click to purchase on Amazon. If you would like to obtain the rights to produce the play, contact me through this website.
The Abortion Monologues premiered in Portland, Oregon in April, 2009 to an audience of almost 400 people, many of whom work as providers in clinics throughout Canada, The United States and Mexico. Audience members say the play is accessible and moving and that it captures the emotions and ambivalence many women feel when making the choice to abort. One provider said that they play offered him a rare opportunity to speak openly about his work. Another audience member described the play as a “contemplative look at what is real.”
“Cawthorne’s insightful prose captures the complex circumstances surrounding a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy. The Abortion Monologues gives a voice to the perspectives of real women who are all too often missing from the public debate. These powerful monologues have the potential to change the way people talk about abortion.” – Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation says,
“The Abortion Monologues was a perfect for the Alumnae Theatre, a women’s theatre group whose mandate includes producing plays that make people think, feature strong roles for women, and are written by Canadian playwrights. From the moment we discovered Jane’s beautiful play, to the presentation of our staged reading less than two months later, the feeling of excitement just grew and grew. A group of very talented actors and technicians joined together to bring it to fruition as a fund raiser for Planned Parenthood and Choice in Health. We timed the event to coincide with the G20 Summit in Toronto and our sold out audience received it very enthusiastically. All felt honoured and grateful to be part of this wonderful expression of love and support for women and our right to choose.” – Dinah Watts on behalf of Alumnae Theatre, Toronto.
Audience reaction from the Canadian Premiere in Calgary, Alberta in February 2010:
“I laughed out loud. I cried, especially when, early on, after she’d spoken, one of the women backed up into the chorus and other women reached out for her and guided her – incredibly powerful for me, the community o fwomen. I think your play helps reaffirm and heal the community of women, a community that’s crucial to all of us, and that in so many ways has been and is being assaulted and harmed by intent, accident and neglect.”
“We laughed, empathized, identified, supported and cheered…. It was about women first, and rhetoric second.”
“I was amazed. Not only by the writing, and the acting, and the directing, and the sincerity, and the ‘realness’ – but by how it moved me. Tonight made me realize how lucky I am. How lucky that the nurses were so nice to me and were willing to help with my abortion options, and how my Mom supported me no matter what. I ended up keeping the baby, who is now the love of my life, but it felt good to have those options so I could make the choice. It was always up to me.”
I’ve stopped writing in this blog, but here it is for those who are looking for the content. I kept this blog up for several years and have said pretty much everything I have to say about abortion and reproductive rights issues and the politics that surround them somewhere in these entries. Enjoy!
These clips are from the show I produced in Calgary, Alberta. There are others kicking around on the world wide web, but be aware there are some video “abortion monologues” out there that are anti-choice and not associated with my play.
Click to purchase on Amazon.