The Brelby Theatre Company is proud to kick off it’s Ninth Season with The Night of Shorts. An evening filled with short plays created by Brelby Artists who were given the prompt of “imagine,” “create,” or “inspire” to write their shows. We at the Brelby Buzz are very excited to give you this sneak peak into each of their shows through our This Artist Writes… series! First up is Company Member, Allison Bauer and her heartfelt inspiration for her short play Take Me Back.
This Girl Writes… Take Me Back
By Allison Bauer
I’m back! I know, I know. Everyone’s favorite Italian here. I was asked, yet again, to write for the blog and I am pumped! I love writing for the blog.
Last February, one of my best friends, John, convinced me to take a playwriting intensive. I was like …………um……….why? I have absolutely no playwriting ability whatsoever. But I signed up and persevered and found that I might actually not suck at this whole writing deal. I was fortunate enough to make an impression since a few months later I received an email asking if I would write a short play to be featured in Brelby Theatre Company’s production, The Night of Shorts slot. I was so hyped. Like incredibly. You can ask John. I pretty much talked about it at least once a day until we got our prompt. I had just (and by just I mean 6 months prior) gotten done with missing grace. I played a woman who struggled with the ability to love someone broken and struggled with putting love before family and vice versa. There were so many themes in that show that struck many chords with me. The loss of a child was a major one. I had numerous conversations with John where I would question the severity of it. ‘Why is something that is, unfortunately more common than we think, made to be almost diseased and pushed away?’ Grace suffers something that so many women do and yet there is a perceived shame that comes with it. Why are women forced to feel ashamed or guilty for their reaction to the loss of their child? Yes, there are circumstances that lend a hand to those emotions but most of the time, it is by the hands of something greater than us.
A few months ago, I was home in Tucson for Father’s day. I have an exceptionally large family so every holiday is a HOLIDAY. I have 15 cousins now, 3 of which are married. One of my older cousins and his wife announced that they are (finally) pregnant! Congrats, right? Well in talking with my cousin’s wife, I realized that this wasn’t the first time they had conceived. She explained me that about a year prior they had tried and she ended up losing the baby. Almost 80% of women who miscarry do so in the first 12 weeks (first trimester) of being pregnant (find more information related to Miscarriage here). 80%!! And even more so, it is more common if a woman has not conceived a child yet. Also, in these cases women tend to have more severe cases of PPD (Postpartum depression) than most women who haven’t miscarried. I’m not here to lecture you about this but it is important. After she told me this, I asked some hard questions. My cousin’s wife wasn’t the only one who had miscarried in my family. A number of names came up. Family, friends of the family, friends of friends. I was in shock. I hurt for these women but what hurt the most was that I was just hearing about it. When you lose a parent, you grieve. When you lose a friend, a family member, a loved one, we grieve. Yes, all of these women grieved their losses but when was the last time you heard a woman openly talk about it. When was the last time you heard a woman openly talk about PPD? Maybe you have but it is a rare occurrence in my life. ‘It’s not appropriate conversation’ or ‘It’s a touchy subject’. Why? Why is it okay to talk about every other form of loss but this particular loss, the loss of a child is taboo? All of this flooded me at once and this play came about. I am not trying to be clever or make an ultimate statement about what I think or feel, but I can’t help continue to ask the question: why is it taboo?
Take Me Back explores the before and aftermath of what loss can do. It shows the beauty and the scariness of life, ultimately. It takes something that is taboo and makes it something real. Again, this isn’t some twisted way of supporting pro-life or whatever. That’s not why I write. That’s not my mission as a playwright. PPD and early pregnancy loss are something that happen every day. It is something that women are forced to live with in silence because the perception is that it is their fault, or the subject is taboo. Maybe it’s time we start talking about the taboo and stop worrying about those uncomfortable conversations. Pain is a part of life and it is beautiful. It is not something we should be made to feel ashamed of. I believe that theater should make us feel something, regardless of the positive or negative impact. It should allow us to become completely unhinged and feel these emotions and inspire deep conversations. I wrote Take Me Back so I could attempt to give a voice and a thought stream to the people who may not have the words but feel the emotions. In all, I suppose, that what I am trying to say is that is it is okay to feel and no one should take that away from you.
Our thanks to Allison for sharing her inspiration and passion for women’s health through this post and her short play. We look forward to seeing this and all the other new works presented at this amazing night of theatre. Tickets are available now for this limited run and check back to the Brelby Buzz for more behind the scenes features on all the other short plays you will see at The Night of Shorts!