Just one year ago, Rachel Wolf saw the HBO documentary, “Abortion: Stories Women Tell.” She identified with what she saw there and realized, she says, “that by sharing our stories we feel more connected.”
In response, Wolf wrote a piece for the stage that would explore “the topic of ‘choice’ on a deeper level.” The result is Choices, a play that at first appears to unfold in an abortion support group but which, over time, shows that the connections among the women there run much deeper.
In the course of the intimate, transformative play, rich with interesting roles for five women actors, the participants bare their souls with memories of relationships, spirituality, and mother-daughter dynamics as they struggle to achieve forgiveness of self.
Wolf is no stranger to writing. Before moving to Salem in 2013, she worked for 26 years in the entertainment industry where she wrote screenplays and worked on numerous TV shows and films. She earned her B.A. in English with a writing concentration and has been involved with theatre since the 1970s as an actor and director. She’s also written the book, music and lyrics for a full-length stage musical, POE, which she hopes to premiere later this year.
Wolf says Choices is especially timely in 2018. “After I wrote the first draft,” she says, “the #MeToo movement went viral, making it clear that my play was tuned into the zeitgeist.”
But Wolf emphasizes that, at its core, Choices is not a “political” piece. “It’s more about relationships and the human experience,” she says, “encouraging connection and finding what unites rather than divides us. In terms of the pro-choice element, I hope it will promote compassion over judgment.”
The play uses humor to soften the rough edges of a subject matter that can be challenging. While Choices shares some uncomfortable stories, Wolf says, “we want people to look through the window of women’s choices and see things from a perspective they hadn’t considered.”
Rehearsals for the upcoming reading have been exhilarating for Wolf. “I am blown away by how far along we are,” she says. “Although the five women actors are at different levels of experience, they have all committed to the material in an exciting, collaborative way. I’ve been surprised by how much the material resonates for each of them and we all celebrate the uniqueness of each other.”
The show runs 2 ½ hours with an intermission and audience members are invited to stay after the play for a conversation with the cast.
A world premiere reading
Written and Directed by Rachel Wolf
June 19, 2018, 4 p.m.
Loucks Auditorium at the Salem Library
Tickets at Eventbrite.com
Mature content – no one under 16 admitted without an adult