“ I directed Jane as a fundraiser event for the Santa Barbara Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice Coalition’s Roe v Wade anniversary event. There were numerous merits to incorporating activist theatre into the event: It was an excellent way to get university students involved. By connecting the university to the event we were able to cross collaborate with the Feminist Studies Department and the Theater and Dance Department. Kamen’s multiple versions of the script as well as her “Student Organizing Guide” makes the play accessible to non-theatre practitioners. A major strength of this play is its activist potential! ”
The play, Jane: Abortion and the Underground, offers at least 9 diverse and substantial roles for women and could not be more timely. Based on original interviews, it tells the story of the legendary pre-Roe underground abortion service, Jane, which was known as “the best kept secret” in Chicago form 1969-1973. It offers inspiration about the power of women organizing, but also warns about the harsh realities of illegal abortion, even in the most ideal DIY circumstances.
The play, which debuted in 1999 and has been excerpted in several “best of” stage scene and monologue books, had about 20 readings and productions, mainly in fringe feminist theaters and at universities, during the George W Bush years. Now, with abortion access under renewed threat under the reign of Orange Hitler, I’m trying to launch this play again.