Viewpoint and New Celts Productions
theSpace on the Mile
There have been many important moments in the long struggle for abortion rights. Among the legal consequences of these struggles, perhaps the most famous is the American 1973 Supreme Court ruling on Roe v Wade. Yet few of us have any idea who the names in the case referred to.
Kiera Bell has created, from numerous interviews and news reports, a snapshot of the case, focusing on Norma McCorvey, who was given the legal pseudonym of Jane Roe.
Lawyers talk about the circumstances in which she came to their attention. Brief news reports give us a sense of the context in which over 300,000 people marched on Washington in support of abortion rights. Among those we hear are the second-wave feminist Gloria Steinem and a marcher who says, “my body, my baby, my business. Keep your laws off my body. Mother of two by choice.”
Among the anti-abortionists getting a look in are Rob Schenck, an Evangelical Minister, and Flip Benham, who are both helping to organise the anti-abortion organisation Operation Rescue.
Norma is shown as a complicated, vulnerable person placed under great pressure and, after the success of her case, used by anti-abortionists to try and undermine the court ruling.
They tried for a period to claim her as a convert to their version of Christianity, though that was complicated by her relationship with Connie given their strong opposition to homosexuality. Connie is one of the people we hear speak about Norma.
This is an ambitious, thoughtful show given a riveting performance by the two brilliant actors, Charlotte Bella Page and Peter Morrison, who play all the parts.
It arrives at a time of struggle to defend the rights we have won. In June of 2022, the conservative Supreme Court in America overturned Roe v Wade, making it possible for abortion to be banned across the country.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna