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JANE Comes to Berger Park Cultural Center This Week

The performance is on August 6, 7 pm.

Violet Surprise Theater Company presents a staged of Jane: Abortion and the Underground, a fundraiser performance for Midwest Action Coalition. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion.

Paula Kamen's part-documentary play is based on her original interviews with women in Chicago who ran and used the legendary Jane service, which helped women access critical women's health care before the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973.

Kamen said, "Today, in post-Roe America, their story inspires, showing the power of feminist organizing and resistance. But it also gives insight into how illegal abortion can still be harrowing, even under the most ideal of circumstances -- and the importance of keeping it legal in Illinois."

Jane has been widely praised and has had dozens of readings and productions since its Chicago debut in 1999, including the 2019 off-Broadway celebrity reading at NYC's Rattlestick Theater, starring Cynthia Nixon and Monique Coleman. Kamen also contributed research to the new June 2022 HBO documentary, "The Janes."

The recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade inspired this cast and production team to bring this important story back to the Chicago community. Violet Surprise's Artistic Director Iris Sowlat said, "Jane is important right now, because it's crucial that we remind ourselves, at a time when our reproductive rights are being taken away, exactly what the stakes are. The play Jane reminds us of the perilous risks that many women had to take in order to have autonomy over their own bodies, how far we have come since then, and how we cannot take our rights to reproductive health for granted."


Pearlie Leaf: Heather

Shannon Leigh Webber: Jody

Sherry Legare: Alice

Kaitlin Stewart: Ruth

Eileen Tull: Judith, Naomi, Patient One, Patient Seven, Caller Three Whitney Pipes: Micki, Radical Woman, Caller Four, Patient Two, Jane Two Shelley DeHosse: Millie, Sunny, Jane Three, Caller One, Patient Eight, Patient Three Tera Flores: Policewoman, Lory, Caller Two, Jane One, Playwright, Patient Six, Nancy Erik Schiller: Reverend, Dr. C., Nick, Steve, Radical Man, Medical Supplier, Lawyer

Production Team:

Iris Sowlat - Director, Producer, Co-Artistic Director of Violet Surprise Theatre, and stage directions

Chloe Gracias - Producer, Dramaturg, Lead Marketing

Paula Kamen - Playwright, Press/Media, Outreach

Angeli Primlani - Outreach, Press/Media

Allison Fradkin - Co-Artistic Director of Violet Surprise Theatre

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