This Saturday kicks off Tabula Rasa and UCYA’s Backlit Season with a staged reading of The Clinic! The Clinic depicts abortion providers’ lives over the course of nine months in Wichita, Kansas. Their clinic, Wichita Women’s Health, is one of the last clinics in the state and a battleground for reproductive freedom since the notorious 1991 Summer of Mercy protests. The show discusses what it’s like to have reproductive rights threatened and how government policies can affect a woman’s right to choose.
Lauren McDowell has taken on the huge task of directing The Clinic. She discusses what the process has been like to direct a staged reading as opposed to a full-on performance saying, “It’s been in a way easier because I don’t have to worry about all the extra things like lights and set, but it’s more of a challenge because figuring out how to do all those aspects with binder in hand and limited props is difficult.” However, she’s loved the process of interacting with her actors and collaborating to create art. She raves, “The cast I’m working with has been so willing to jump into such a difficult show. They’ve been so flexible and accepting of me as a director, and I’m so thankful for the creative energy they bring to the space.” Lauren shares that while she doesn’t know anyone in her life that has had an abortion or used a clinic for reproductive health services, she does share a personal connection to the show: “…my aunt used to be the president of Planned Parenthood in Oregon. But I’m sure we all know people who have used services. We just haven’t been told.” Because of the stigma attached to abortions and reproductive health clinics, many people don’t always feel comfortable or safe disclosing that they’ve used these services. Hopefully, The Clinic can help break down these prejudices and educate people that having an abortion or taking care of your reproductive health is nothing to be ashamed of.
The show primarily revolves around Dr. Lorrie Daniels, an OB-GYN that specializes in administering abortions and assisting in reproductive health services. DeLaney Henley plays Lorrie and describes her as “a very goal oriented woman.” She says, “She tends to lean on her external shell of professionalism a little too often, causing her internal and personal struggles to slip through the cracks from time to time. Dr. Daniels wants the best for the clinic, the patients, and her co-workers, and she is willing to go great lengths to achieve it.” While she loves the assertiveness of Lorrie, she explains how the role has challenged her: “The most difficult of playing my character is the fact that she’s so different as a person. Our personalities, though processes, and the way we carry ourselves are all very different.” DeLaney also shared that she personally doesn’t know anyone that has had an abortion or used reproductive health services from a clinic, however, she has had situations in which she thought she might need one. She shares, “I’ve had a pregnancy scare myself, which pushed me to almost go to Planned Parenthood for help, but luckily I never needed to.” Having the right to choose gives women the opportunity to control their lives in a way that men never think about. Being pro-choice is more than just thinking about your own beliefs, but how this stance can also affect the other people who might not be so fortunate.
The Clinic is an important piece of theatre that explores the importance of reproductive rights and the consequences of what can happen when those rights are taken away. The Clinic has performances on Saturday, October 5th at 7:30PM and Sunday, October 6th at 2:30PM in Credo Arts Building. Reminder that there is no public parking at Credo and patrons should park in the commuter lot and cross National Ave. to reach Credo. Admission to the show is free, however, Tabula Rasa and UCYA will be accepting cash and Venmo donations for Planned Parenthood of Springfield.