Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Front Lines: Words of Choice

October 30, 2009 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm EDT

Join us in this creative event for reproductive rights! The evening will include an excerpted reading from the newly published and acclaimed book Front Lines: Book of Plays, a discussion with editor Alexis Greene, as well as a creativity workshop around reproductive rights issues led by Words of Choice creator Cindy Cooper.

The New Press has just released Front Lines: Political Plays by American Women, edited by Alexis Greene and Shirley Lauro. From the country’s leading female playwrights, seven brilliant plays on the hot-button issues of our time. Words of Choice — in its original version — is among the seven contemporary plays from the country’s leading female playwrights on “hot-button issues” of our time.

The New Press writes: Front Lines is a pathbreaking collection of the most important, critically acclaimed plays written by the country’s leading con-temporary female playwrights. In the preface, Shirley Lauro writes: Ever since this country came into being, women have waged battles for rights in the pages of their plays, and on the stages where those plays were performed.

The Library Journal writes: Plays tell stories, and the best ones stay with us. Compiled by theater critic Greene (Women Who Write Plays) and playwright Lauro (Open Admissions), the stories in this collection of critically acclaimed works by seven leading female playwrights address some of the most contentious of contemporary issues, and they will stick in readers’ minds for a long time. Cindy Cooper’s Words of Choice looks at the issue of reproductive choice in first-person accounts, poems, and satire. In Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, Quiara Alegría Hudes deftly interweaves the tales of three gener-ations of Latino men who served in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The Exonerated, by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, is based on interviews with men and women on death row for crimes they did not commit. Also included are plays by Paula Vogel, Emily Mann, Lauro, and Nilaja Sun. Recommended for all academic and public drama collections.

Writing in the introduction, Alexis Greene describes Words of Choice:

Words of Choice, a compilation of first-person accounts, satiric sketches, and poems, illuminates the many angles from which Americans approach the issues of reproductive choice, especially the choice of whether or not to have an abortion. Among other things, the play is intended as a warning about the consequences of reversing the 1973 Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States. A father describes how his daughter was assaulted and raped one Fourth-of-July evening, as she walked home through Washington, D.C. [originally from a book of interviews by Angela Bonavoglia.] There is an excerpt from entertainer Kathy Najimy’s stand-up comedy show Parallel Lives and a sprightly riff about an imaginary “morning-after burrito” from Taco Bell [originally from The Onion.] There is also nurse Emily Lyons’s account of being blown nearly apart by a bomb, which antiabortionist Eric Rudolph exploded at a Birmingham, Alabama, women’s clinic in 1998. “I’ve been to war,” Lyons says. “I’ve gone to hell, and I’ve come back.” Greene begins her comments by saying, “Playwrights have a responsibility to address the social and political issues of their time,” and concludes with noting that the underlying political issue of all of the plays in the volume is the drive to preserve an individual’s freedom.”

More about Cindy Cooper: Cindy Cooper is an award-winning playwright and journalist in New York City. Her plays have been produced in New York, regional theaters, Canada and parts of Europe, including at the Women’s Project, Primary Stages, Art and Work Ensemble, the Women’s Project in Minneapolis, Venus Theater, and elsewhere. Among her works is How She Played the Game about six women in sports history. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, her plays are contained in eleven volumes, including ‘Great Monologues for Women’ and ‘On The Edge.’ With a background as a lawyer, she was communications director in the field of reproductive justice, she first created ‘Words of Choice’ in 2000. Read a commentary by Cindy here: On the Road with Choice.

The following is a poem, created by the audience during the Words of Choice event:

Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy NY
Poem by Audience:
Reproductive Freedom


The right of any person to choose whether or not to parent.
Freedom for MY BODY, my mind, my spirit…for my own choice.
The ability to decide when, where and why.
Rights to one’s own mind, spirit, life & livelihood!


The ability to make decisions on what birth control to use, to enjoy MYSELF with the same consequences a man would have.

Freedom to learn, understand and exercise the right to decide when and whether to be a parent, and to access quality care, regardless of MY choices.


The freedom to choose how I love myself in the present & future; the freedom to choose the legacy I have.

3361 6th Ave
Troy, 12180 United States
View Venue Website

We are committed to lowering the barriers to access for events at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. For people who are hard of hearing or deaf, blind or low-vision, or whose physical limitations can interfere with a satisfying experience, let us know two weeks in advance so we can make appropriate arrangements.

Stay Informed

Sign up with your e-mail address to keep up to date with events, workshops and other announcements from The Sanctuary.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Don’t worry, we ❤️ privacy and won’t sell your information, ever—and you may unsubscribe at any time.

About The Sanctuary

We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

Learn More