WAM Theatre Announces Digital Production of ROE by Lisa Loomer

The play will be available October 17-20. 

By: Aug. 25, 2020
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WAM Theatre's reimagined 2020 season will center on a creatively designed digital production of the area premiere of Lisa Loomer's celebrated play ROE, available October 17-20. The digital production will be directed by WAM's Producing Artistic Director, Kristen Van Ginhoven.

Supported with powerful theatrical design elements, the large ensemble cast will illuminate the history of one of the most polarizing social issues of the modern era - the Roe v. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman's right to an abortion. WAM's innovative, online performance will bring the dynamic history and how it relates to our current world into the comfort of your own home.

"As WAM grappled with the question of what to do in the fall, to ROE or not to ROE, we were inspired by our conversations with the ROE creative team to find a different way forward in telling this important story," said van Ginhoven. "Art and telling this story is essential, especially in the world we are living in right now. Creating this opportunity for our artists to do what they do best and our audience to experience this story, while putting artist and patron safety and smart financial decisions at the forefront, felt like a necessity."

Over the past few months, the extraordinary creative team of ROE has been meeting regularly to dream about how they might tell this story in the time of COVID and the national reckoning with race. What has come of this dreaming is an illuminating digital production that creates the opportunity to blend technology and performance and collaborate with new artists in the video and website design worlds. The creative team for the ROE digital production includes set designer Juliana von Haubrich, costume designer Deborah A. Brothers, lighting designer Aja M. Jackson, sound designer Amy Altadonna, and dramaturg Talya Kingston. Hope Rose Kelly will be the stage manager. Local production company, OutPost Productions, will be the video editors and Abby Tovell from T Square Design Studio will be designing the ROE digital production website.

Assisting the creative team are assistant director Catherine Dickerson, assistant costume designer Calypso Michelet, assistant lighting designer Frida Swallow, assistant sound designer Elisabeth Castellon Goncalves, assistant dramaturg Tatiana Godfrey, and assistant stage manager Ashley Lewis. For more information on the ROE creative team visit: https://www.wamtheatre.com/showsandevents/roe/roe-creative-team/.

"At first, designing ROE during a pandemic felt like building a sandcastle in a storm," said Scenic Designer Juliana von Haubrich. "The shape of what we could do kept changing as the virus raged around us. Finally, after my original ideas washed away, and I was left with a new kind of empty stage: a virtual one, where we could 'build' anything our minds could imagine. Now anyone in the world can experience ROE. Now, it's not a show to watch in a theater, it's a world to experience!"

Thanks to a grant from Mass Humanities, WAM is also working in collaboration with Scholar-In-Residence Dr. Laura Briggs, Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst, and dialogue experts Essential Partners to open up and deepen the conversation around reproductive justice during this election year.

"Playwright Lisa Loomer stated that during her writing process she "started to see how a play called ROE might begin to look at the larger cultural divide in this country for which this issue is a lightning rod'. In our early conversations with Dr. Briggs and Essential Partners, we were made aware of an article written by a group of people who came together for dialogue across difference following the bombing of an abortion clinic in 1994. This quote lept out to us: "In this world of polarizing conflicts, we have glimpsed a new possibility: a way in which people can disagree frankly and passionately, become clearer in heart and mind about their activism, and, at the same time, contribute to a more civil and compassionate society.' Those quotes are guiding our work," shared van Ginhoven.

In keeping with WAM's double philanthropic mission, a portion of the proceeds will be given to an organization taking action for women and girls. The beneficiary for ROE will be announced soon.

Tickets will go on sale September 8th. For more information about WAM Theatre's 2020 programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.


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