Roe – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre is offering a compelling history lesson until Sunday, March 11 at the Nafe Katter Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut with Lisa Loomer’s “Roe,” the story of how abortion rights and women’s choice have impacted our nation. With fifty characters, over two and a half hours, this talented cast reveals and exposes layers of facts about how Texas became the proving ground for this battle all the way to the Supreme Court.

A landmark United States Court decision in 1973, almost fifty years ago, Roe v. Wade established a women’s right to elect an abortion. Five decades later this ruling was overturned by another United States Supreme Court ruling, and people are firmly attached to their own version of what the law should be.

In 1969, an unwed mother, pregnant with her third child, was given the name Jane Roe. She lived in Texas where abortion was only legal if it saved the life of the mother. A lawsuit was filed on her behalf. Her name was Norma McCorvey ( Audrey Latino) and she claimed to have been raped. With the help and encouragement of her lawyer Sarah Weddington (Annie Tolis), Norma became the symbol of this struggle for personal freedoms, for a woman’s rights for reproductive choices in her own body. The basic argument was the Texas laws were unconstitutional.

In January 1973, in a 7-2 decision, nine judges ruled in Jane Roe’s favor, citing the 14th amendment’s fundamental “right to privacy,” protecting a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion, utilizing a pregnancy trimester timetable to govern all United States regulations. Come be caught up in this controversial legal decision and immerse yourself in “Roe,” define the motivations of those involved and the struggle both sides fought. Taneisha Duggan directs this dangerous and dramatic topic. Others in the cast include Andrew Rein, Lori Vega, Katherine Berryhill, Andre Chan Chi Lun, Kat Corrigan Tony King, Aly Liew, Lucy Ouimet, Kiera Prusmack and Casey Wortham who play multiple roles.

In 2022 the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in a new court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on the grounds that the substantive right to abortion was not “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history or tradition,” nor considered a right when the Due Process Clause was first ratified in 1868 and was unknown in United States law until Roe.

For tickets ($10-35), call the Nafe Katter Theatre, 820 Bolton Road, Storrs at 860-486-2113 or online at Performances are Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 10 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 11 at 8 p.m. Several talkbacks are scheduled. Masks are encouraged and required for some performances.

No matter which side of the debate speaks to you, you will have much to learn from this involving production in all its personal and political ramifications.