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New short plays from Company One center on reproductive justice

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
New short plays from Company One center on reproductive justice
Cris Eli Blak, playwright PHOTO: COURTESY OF COMPANY ONE

On Oct. 13, Company One Theatre debuts a digital event, “Reproductive Liberty and Body Justice for All,” featuring new short plays by four playwrights of color created in response to the dismantling of Roe v. Wade protections.

Rawchayl Sahadeo, playwright PHOTO: COURTESY OF COMPANY ONE

Cris Eli Blak, Pampi Das, Cayenne Douglass and Rawchayl Sahadeo are all part of Company One Theatre’s 2021-2022 Volt Lab, a collective of playwrights of color and rising voices in American theater. For this event, each playwright chose something from the National Network of Abortion Funds’ list of demands and used it to inspire a short play.

“We know that the repeal of Roe v. Wade will have repercussions that extend far beyond the status of abortion laws,” says Afrikah Smith, C1’s national new play network producer-in-residence, who also produced this event. “Reproductive justice is a broad issue that includes everything from family planning, to trans-inclusive and gender-affirming health care, to reducing maternal mortality, to increasing access for care in systemically under-resourced communities. C1’s Volt Lab writers are interested in how we tell stories and take action in a post-Roe world.”

Cayenne Douglass, playwright PHOTO: COURTESY OF COMPANY ONE

The program premieres Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. for free on Company One’s YouTube page. Playwrights worked with directors and actors to bring these pieces to life, including standout local talent like directors Dawn M. Simmons and Summer L. Williams. After the performance of each short play, the creative team will be available for live-chat questions and dialogue with the audience, with the goal of brainstorming concrete actions that can be taken in response to this situation. The event recording will be viewable on the Company One YouTube page after the live performance as well.

Company One Theatre is intrinsically tied to a social justice mission, and the PlayLab Circuit Volt Lab is designed to culminate in a responsive playwriting experience and event like “Reproductive Liberty.” Throughout the course of the year, additional events will be hosted to respond to social justice issues in our contemporary world and highlight pre-professional writers flexing their creative muscles for a cause. Company One performances are always free or pay-what-you-can, helping to provide access to audiences of all kinds.

Pampi Das, playwright PHOTO: COURTESY OF COMPANY ONE

Ilana M. Brownstein, C1’s director of new work, says, “I’m excited for the ways these four writers in particular —  a Boston Public School educator, a mental health artist-activist from Kentucky, a recent graduate of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and a community healer/culture worker based in western Massachusetts — are amplifying specific calls to action we can take towards greater justice and liberation.”