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Remaining Performances: Fri., July 20, 11:45 p.m. Wed., July 25, 6 p.m.
Their Take: “Mitzi’s pregnant and ready to start a family. When tragedy strikes she’s left at the mercy of bureaucracy so absurd it could only be real. Elizabeth Heffron’s uproarious and magical comedy explores the collision of politics, religion, family and biology.”
Alexs Take: I spent most of Mitzis Abortion holding back tears.
Mitzis 22 and pregnant. She works at Subway. At least shes got health insurance, since her husband, whom she married shotgun-style, is in the army. At first shes anxious about the baby; then shes stoked, painting her apartment floor-to-ceiling yellow. She knows its a girl.
But this is a play about a late-term abortionone Mitzi doesnt want to have, and one her federally backed insurance company wont let her have. Mitzis baby will essentially be born without a brain unless her pregnancy is induced. If its not, shell be carrying the nearly dead weight three months past term. But Mitzi’s life isnt in danger, so her insurance wont cover the procedure. Yeah, its an abortion.
These facts are interspersed with absurdly conveyed doses of science and religion. Most outstanding is John C. Bailey as Thomas Aquinas, here a chaste saint who gets off by eating, working out, and crushing on Anderson Cooper. Aquinas is a comical, but comforting, moral compass and friend to Mitzi, whose on-again, off-again relationship with Catholicism is informed by the extreme life-begins-at-conception rhetoric thats bandied about frequently these days. Unsurprising spoiler: Aquinas, the grandaddy of Catholic thought, doesnt follow that party line.
The plot of Mitzis Abortion is so sufficient in its argument that it doesnt necessarily need to be well-acted to drive a knife into your gut. But Washington Rogues’ players shine, subtly infusing some much-needed humor into what might otherwise be an all-out sob story. Even better, theyre nimble in their seamless character transitions (all but Natalie Cutcher, as Mitzi, take on multiple roles).
The 90-minute performance does drag: What with all the other moral and philosophical knots to untangle, the random appearance from Mitzis pro-life uncle, myriad knockaround twists, and the entire character of Wreckless Mary (Louise Schlegel)the ghost of a Scottish midwife and a pal of Aquinas who was burned at the stake in 1600-whateverjust lay it on way too thick.
So, why the waterworks? Im 22, Mitzis age. Ive had spats with my insurance company over what it will and wont cover. And, most profoundly, Im a woman in 2012, when the right to do what I want with my body, when I want, is under siege in local and national arenas. Mitzis Abortion elucidates my greatest fear: that political bullshit will render my personal choices far more difficult than they already are.
See It If: You arent convincedor you forgotwhy abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
Skip It If: You dont need the reminder.