Participants creating a tableaux inspired by small group conversations.
On Tuesday, May 21, The Anthropologists organized an Emergency Response Session in reaction to the abortion bans passed in Alabama and Missouri. Thanks to the generosity of Robin Sokoloff and Town Stages, we were able to host this session.
It was both important and reassuring to gather together as a diverse group - including theatre artists and non-practictioners - to speak about the ramifications of the bans and to look beyond the initial scope of impact to cisgender heterosexual women. Everyone came together with the spirit of openness and knowledge-building.
Upon arrival, participants were invited to write down anonymous responses to the following questions:
What emotions are you feeling?
What questions do you have?
What are your biggest concerns?
This helped us to "take the temperature" of the room and guide our full group conversations which included some research sharing about abortion care and statistics. Then, in small groups, we engaged more deeply using conversation prompts from the National Network of Abortion Funds.
These were the prompts we used.
In your community or the state where you live, which social justice issues can affect a person's ability to parent as they choose to or access an abortion need?
How would you respond to someone who confided in you and said: "I am a transgender man, and I think I might be pregnant. When I go to the doctor, I feel judged, and I'm worried about what the doctor will say when I ask about my options, including abortion. What should I say to the doctor when I go to my next appointment?"
Did you know that people experiencing pregnancy loos often have their medical care negatively impacted by anti-abortion laws? How would you show compassion to someone experiencing a miscarriage who was denied the care they need due to financial or medical regulations related to abortion?
What does personal autonomy mean to you? Do you feel like you can make your own decisions about your path in life? Why or why not?
These conversations were then translated into physical tableaux. Other points of conversation inspired physical theatre exercises. One participant shared afterwards, "What surprised me the most was the emotional response/release to the physical manifestations of the prompts."
At the conclusion of the session, the group suggested various organizations and resources as well as creative outlets for expression.
Her Justice: Her Justice stands with women living in poverty in New York City by recruiting and mentoring volunteer lawyers to provide free legal help to address individual and systemic legal barriers.
WNYC Radio Rookies: Internship / training platform for young people to learn about radio journalism
The Red Lotus: A short film by Shara Ashley Zeiger about life without Roe v. Wade screening in a festival in Akron, Ohio
Reproductive Freedom Walking Tours via Social Justice Tours: Led by Cindy Cooper; next tour is 5/26 and 10% of tickets goes to the NY Abortion Access Fund. If you are an artist interested in getting involved in the tours, please contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Haven Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit made up of volunteers dedicated to supporting people traveling to New York City for abortions.
Brigid Alliance: Dedicated to improving access to abortion by alleviating the logistical and financial constraints placed upon those who must travel for care.
Lady Parts Justice: the first not safe for work, rapid response reproductive rights messaging hub that uses comedy, culture and digital media to sound an alarm about the terrifying erosion of access to reproductive rights.
Here are some of the resources we consulted in preparing for the Emergency Response Session:
National Network of Abortion Funds: https://abortionfunds.org/
Conversation Cards: https://abortionfunds.org/cards/
Heart-to-Heart Conversation Toolkit: https://abortionfunds.org/cms/assets/uploads/2018/01/Heart-to-Heart-Abortion-Conversations-Individual-Guide.pdf
The Anthropologists is invested in using theatre to unlock challenging conversations. We are curious about how theatre can be used to influence legislation. We hope that we will be able to host more such similar events.
A tableaux inspired by small group discussion.
If you'd like to be notified of future Response Sessions and other upcoming events, please email email@example.com.
We are currently in the research and development phase for our new play, No Pants In Tucson, a physical comedy inspired by a history of gender-oppressive laws in the United States. You can learn more here: