As women’s reproductive rights south of the border increasingly come under fire today, playwright Hannah Moscovitch takes audiences back 100 years in What a Young Wife Ought to Know, inspired by real stories of mothers during the Canadian birth-control movement of the early twentieth century.
We are bringing to life a story and a topic that is both 100 years old and happening all over again, right in front of us. – Charlotte Wright
Set in 1920s Ottawa, Sophie, a young working-class girl, falls madly in love with and marries a stable hand named Jonny. After two difficult childbirths, doctors tell Sophie she shouldn’t have any more children but don’t tell her how to prevent it. So when Sophie inevitably becomes pregnant again, she faces a grim dilemma.
Excavation Theatre’s production will play in the final weeks of Women’s History Month, exactly one hundred years after Canada’s first birth-control advocacy group was formed in Vancouver and fresh off the landmark announcement that birth control prescriptions will be free in BC starting April 1, 2023.
“Peppered with moments of honesty, heart and humour, contrasted against the bleakness of what Sophie must do for her own sanity, health, and wellbeing of her family, I’m excited to bring a story about the need for a womxn’s right to choose, the right for access to proper reproductive and sexual health, to the stage with such a talented and passionate group of artists,” says director Jessica Anne Nelson.
“It’s 2023, and yet women’s body autonomy is thrown into question, yet again,” adds actor Charlotte Wright, who plays Sophie’s sister Alma in the production. “We’ve moved three years forward and yet a hundred years back. We are bringing to life a story and a topic that is both 100 years old and happening all over again, right in front of us.”
In this edition of Before The Curtain Goes Up, Vancouver Presents contributor David C Jones speaks with two of the actors, Bronwyn Henderson & Charlotte Wright.
Excavation Theatre presents Hannah Moscovitch’s What a Young Wife Ought to Know at Performance Works on Granville Island (1218 Cartwright St, Vancouver) from March 24 – April 1. Visit excavationtheatre.com for tickets and information.