THE OMNIBUS BILL: New Abortion Play Connects The Dots Between Past And Present At TACTICS Theatre Series
A new play by award winning Ottawa-based playwright Darrah Teitel opens next week to tell the story of abortion criminalization in Canada. As we continue to witness attacks on reproductive rights in in the US and Canada, The Omnibus Bill, presented by the TACTICS Theatre Series at Arts Court Theatre, could not be more relevant or urgent.
Set both in the House of Commons and Bowmanville, Ontario in 1969, the play portrays the people who broke the law in order to seek and provide abortions. "It's a play about our history, but that history is repeating itself," says Teitel from Ottawa. "The characters are people from up and down the ladder of power, including politicians, doctors, activists and the person in the middle of the story, who just needs to access her health care. It's concerning how contemporary their problems are. We even have a Prime Minister named Trudeau again."
Teitel herself knows her subject well. After five years working on Parliament Hill as a staffer, she now works for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, formerly Planned Parenthood Canada. However, she has been writing this play about Pierre Trudeau's 1969 Omnibus Bill since before moving to Ottawa. "In many ways, researching this play set me on the path to work in federal politics. Life imitated art," Teitel mused.
Following the success of her critically acclaimed play Behaviour that played to full houses at GCTC in March, Teitel's new work brings together a world class cast and crew led by Esther Jun (director of GCTC's hit production The Last Wife) and featuring Jacqui du Toit as Maria, a pregnant immigrant in Canada in 1969. Actors Darcy Gerhart, Neta J. Rose, Tayves Fiddis and Michael Swatton play the underground feminists, midwives and doctors who want to help her, but they come up against the changing laws and politics of Pierre Elliot Trudeau's first legislative mandate.
The Omnibus Bill is the final production in the fifth season of TACTICS, Ottawa's curated indie theatre season. The 2019 TACTICS Mainstage Series has featured the world premieres of three new plays, all penned by award-winning Ottawa playwrights. Alongside these full productions are six new works in development in the Workshop Series. With this double stream of theatrical programming, TACTICS fills a gap in the local theatre scene, supporting a diverse community of Ottawa independent artists so that they can dream big with their art and tell the stories that need to be told.
Jacqui du Toit
Neta J. Rose
Darrah Teitel - Playwright
Esther Jun - Director
Patrice-Ann Forbes - Set and Costume Designer
Laura Wheeler - Lighting Designer
Connor Price-Kelleher - Stage Manager
Produced by Counterpoint Players
Performances at 8pm May 31, June 1 and June 5-8. Performance at 7pm on Sunday June 2 and matinee performance at 2pm on Saturday June 8. A post-performance talkback follows the show on Wednesday June 5.
Tickets are on sale now online at https://artscourt.ca/events/the-omnibus-bill/
Regular tickets are $20. Arts Supporter tickets are priced at $25 and students with valid ID can Pay-What-You-Choose at the box office, starting one hour before the performance.
The Omnibus Bill runs from May 31 - June 8 at Arts Court Theatre.
For more information, visit www.tacticsottawa.com.