Theater as Activism: “The Clinic” features all-star cast to benefit women’s reproductive rights

Some of the top names in local theater are coming together to perform a Benefit Reading of The Clinic by Will Brumley on Tuesday, July 9. The staged reading will take place at The Wilbury Group Theatre, 40 Sonoma Court, Providence. Doors open at 6:30pm; the benefit will begin at 7pm. Tickets are available online at thewilburygroup.org and at the door. Proceeds from the Providence reading will be divided among three local organizations: Planned Parenthood, the Women’s Health and Education Fund, and The Womxn Project. 

Produced by Trinity Rep resident company member Rebecca Gibel and local costume designer Jessie Darrell Jarbadan, The Clinic is directed by Jackie Davis (Marisol, black odyssey and at Trinity Rep) and features Trinity Rep actors Annie Scurria and Rachael Warren alongside Sylvia Soares, Becky Bass, Steve Kidd, Rae Mancini and Jessica Smith. 

“One of the challenges I’ve experienced since the 2016 election is the hopeless feeling that there’s no way my one voice can possibly effect real change,” explains one of the event’s producers, actress Rebecca Gibel. 

She credits Facebook for first introducing her to the script. “Will Brumley, the playwright, posted that he was making his Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist script available for free to anyone who wanted to produce a reading to raise money for abortion funds and clinics. This was in direct response to the abortion bans in Missouri, Ohio, Alabama and several other states.”  

Local designer and activist Jessie Darrell Jarbadan shared the post and asked Gibel and some theater colleagues if they would be interested in producing the piece with her. Gibel says, “I wrote back immediately, and now here we are!” 

Gibel says that she is especially inspired by the panelists who will be speaking after the reading: Senator Gayle Goldin, co-sponsor of the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA); Jordan Hevenor of the Womxn Project; and Tiara TyShae of the Women’s Health & Education Fund.  

“I believe that a profound power of live theater is the gathering of people together, breathing the same air, hearing the same story — an environment where one voice can become a chorus. I’m hopeful the play and the discussion afterward will give audience members motivation as well as an actionable framework to push reproductive rights forward in this state and beyond.”

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