THE GROVE – Two local theater artists, Summer Baer and Delaney Piggins, staged a reading of “The Clinic” by Will Brumley on Sunday night to raise money for the Gateway Women’s Access Fund.
Hosted at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester Avenue, the doors and bar opened at 6 p.m. for people who wanted to mingle and grab a drink before the show. At 7:30, everyone took their drinks into the back room, which has a stage as well as some tables and chairs for audience members, for the reading.
Brumley’s play follows an abortion and reproductive services clinic in Kansas, as the clinicians and employees of the clinic navigate a series of death threats and struggle to understand the future of abortion services and the clinic itself. The diverse cast of eleven featured area actors, some of whom played multiple parts.
Piggins and Baer set up this reading and fundraiser in response to Missouri’s recent legislation on abortion, which in effect bans it after 8 weeks, with no exception for rape or incest. Staging the play was Baer’s idea, though Piggins was eager to join on as soon as Baer approached her with the idea. They then chose Gateway Women’s Access Fund, which helps women access funds for abortions, as the organization for which they would fundraise.
Piggins said that one pro about incorporating theater into the fight against the abortion ban, aside from fundraising, was the immediacy theater can offer.
“I think that we are able to use our bodies and voices very immediately. You can get up on a stage. You don’t have to get a camera out, you don’t have to necessarily do a whole lot of writing beforehand,” she said. “But you have a very immediate way of communicating an issue and of getting a group together to unite around something.”
She added that theater can help influence and educate people on an issue at a very local level.
“I think that theater artists do play a pretty vital part in getting particularly their local communities, those that can attend the production, involved in engaging these different issues and seeing it from alternate angles,” she said.
Some two dozen people showed up for the reading. Afterward, there was a talk back with Kat Kissick from the Gateway Women’s Access Fund and others including Julie Steele and Kathryn Bentley. Baer announced later on Facebook that they had raised over $650 for the Gateway Women’s Access Fund.
This was a one-night event held at The Monocle. For more information about Gateway Women’s Access Fund, check out https://www.gwaf.org/. To see what’s coming up next at The Monocle, visit https://www.themonoclestl.com.