Roe

Roe

Roe

By Lisa Loomer
Directed by Bill Rauch
Co-production with Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage
Limited Season · Roda Theatre
March 3–April 2, 2017
World premiere production

Running time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, plus one 15-minute intermission

Roe v. Wade—the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion is still fiercely debated, over 40 years later. In her newest play, acclaimed writer Lisa Loomer cuts through the headlines and rhetoric to reveal the divergent personal journeys of lawyer Sarah Weddington and plaintiff Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) in the years following the fateful decision. In turns shocking, humorous, and poignant, Roe reflects the polarization in America today while illuminating the heart and passion each person has for their cause.

Creative team

Lisa Loomer · Playwright
Bill Rauch · Director
Rachel Hauck · Scenic Design
Raquel Barreto · Costume Design
Jane Cox · Lighting Design
Paul James Prendergast · Composition / Sound Design
Wendall K. Harrington · Projection Design
Joy Dickson · Casting
Rebecca Clark Carey · Voice / Text Direction
Tom Bryant · Dramaturg
Jeremy Eisen · Stage Manager
Lavina Jadhwani · Assistant Director
Tess James · Associate Lighting Designer
Kristen Ferguson · Associate Projections Designer
Lawrence Moten · Associate Scenic Designer

Cast

Jim Abele · Ron Weddington / Jay Floyd / Flip Benham
Sarah Jane Agnew · Sarah Weddington
Kenya Alexander · Roxanne
Mark Bedard · Henry McCluskey / Robert Flowers / Abortion Doctor
Zoe Bishop · Melissa / Emily
Sara Bruner · Norma McCorvey
Catherine Castellanos · Ofelia / Connie Gonzalez
Gina Daniels · Aileen / Barbara / Uma / Third Pregnant Woman
Pamela Dunlap · Molly / Mary
Richard Elmore · Doctor Kennedy / Henry Wade / Justice Blackmun
Susan Lynskey · Linda Coffee / Judy / First Pregnant Woman / Peggy
Amy Newman · Helen / Second Pregnant Woman / Ronda

What most stirs in Roe are the moments when Loomer simply channels the unalloyed sentiments and arguments of those who put their careers, their privacy, their safety on the line for a woman’s right to choose…Catherine Castellanos as Norma’s long-suffering girlfriend Connie Gonzales offers one of the most haunting portraits of strength you are likely to see on an American stage; she is strong through her quiet, through her rueful wisdom.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Is Roe a vital, fascinating, beautifully produced history lesson with immediate impact? Absolutely. Loomer’s attempts to tell a reasonably objective version of the story is not only admirable, it’s heroic…There’s not a lot of time for rich character development, so this isn’t a deeply emotion experience, but what it lacks in that area it more than makes up for in the way it offers clarity amid complicated history and reveals, amid the specific details, how being human will always hinge on fear and its progeny: anger, righteousness and gargantuan need…As Norma, Sara Bruner beautifully conveys instability, spark and a survivor’s strength that belies tremendous emotional fragility…Weddington [is] played with intelligence and hauteur by Sarah Jane Agnew…Catherine Castellanos, one of the Bay Area’s finest actors…is shattering.”

Theater Dogs

Get ready for a big, bruising play of the conflicting ideas and emotions roiling at the center of the abortion debate. This is a lively and intelligent look at one of the most divisive issues of our time…Bruner endows Norma with such sass and wit that it’s highly entertaining watching her reinvent herself…Agnew gives Weddington a sense of substance and gravitas that’s compelling…It’s the standoffs between the many formidable women of Roe that the drama has its most incendiary moments.”

Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

The play’s focus isn’t the chemistry between the performers as much as it is the conversation with the audience. Repeatedly thrust outward are questions of where to search for truth, who to trust, how to talk to people on opposite sides of a debate, and the role of poverty and education in the abortion issue. Admirably, Roe leaves viewers to decide for themselves. Remarkably, it doesn’t feel like a cop out.”

East Bay Express

Watch now

Official trailer: Lisa Loomer’s Roe

Get a glimpse of the “highly entertaining” and “heroic” play that illuminates the personal stories of the women behind the Roe v. Wade decision.

“Superb…powerful”

Hear what audiences have to say about Lisa Loomer’s Roe.

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Photos by Jenny Graham

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