For the first time since the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Lisa Loomer’s 2016 play, ROE, will take the stage in Texas this month with an elevated sense of purpose. Stages — the Houston-based, mission-driven theater company behind this new production — will notably feature an all-female creative team and the debut of a new, more urgent epilogue.
ROE tells the story of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. Since the recent reversal of the decision in the Dobbs case, ROE is no longer simply historical and has transformed into an examination of the stark reality facing American women today.
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The play is centered on the lives of two women, attorney Sarah Weddington and Norma “Jane Roe” McCorvey, who were both deeply affected by the outcome. Through their eyes, Loomer portrays the realities of decades of work and asks audiences to understand the humans at the center of this moment in American history.
Telling this story is an act of courage, especially for the nine women and three men who will perform it nightly. We will create an environment where audiences can truly understand the people behind the rhetoric, Norma and Sarah, and how both women were complicated, full humans. There are no villains in this story. There are no “two sides.” There are a multitude of people and all are included.
Katie Maltais, Stages Managing Director
Per their stated mission, Stages makes plays and tells stories that explore the question: What does it mean to be human? Stages has grown to become the largest nonprofit performing arts producer outside of Houston’s downtown theater district and is one of the region’s leading artistic creators.
This production of ROE is especially relevant today, where a woman’s bodily autonomy is at the forefront of national discourse. To take the stage in Texas, a place with some of the nation’s most restrictive laws on access to reproductive healthcare, intends to be a boldly defiant statement in defense of women’s rights statewide and beyond. The play aims to serve as a powerful reminder that the fight over reproductive rights is not settled and, more than ever, it is vital to have honest conversations about this issue.
ROE will be shown January 20–March 5, Wednesday–Sunday in Houston, Texas.
Learn more about the play and buy tickets at stageshouston.com.