Thursday, August 10, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "Funny, Like an Abortion"


Show: 24


By: EnCompass Theatre

Written by: Rachel Bublitz

Location: Rarig Arena

Summary: In a dystopian world where even talking about an abortion can get you thrown in jail, two friends have a party to plan a do-it-yourself abortion.

Highlights: Unfortunately, this dystopian world isn't that far from our own. Maybe not here in Minnesota, where our constitution protects a woman's right to choose, but in many places around the country since Roe v. Wade was overturned. This show is disguised as a comedy, and a funny and entertaining one at that, but it's dealing with some very real and scary issues. Performers Olivia Dubiel and Stephanie Kahle believably play best friends, and when one of them gets pregnant (birth control is also difficult if not impossible to get), she invites the other over for a surprise abortion party. She has a few dozen gift bags, with a home abortion remedy in each (note: the performers make a point to say multiple times - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!). Each solution is worse than the last, as they contemplate various herbs and medications, as well as going to other countries. The two friends are in different places economically, and that is brought up as a very real factor in getting the care one needs. We never find out what happens to these two women; the performers break out of the story at the conclusion to recite some terrifying facts and stories about things that are happening around the country regarding laws, lawsuits, and personal experiences, sometimes just a few days ago. In times of turmoil, I always look to the artists to show us a way through. These young women are doing that just in talking about and dramatizing abortion rights, and reminding us that the fight is not over. Funny, Like an Abortion is a must-see both for entertainment value and for social advocacy reasons.