The fall of Roe v. Wade means abortion is now illegal or heavily restricted in 18 out of 50 US states. Though people living in blue states or outside of the US altogether may think their own reproductive rights are safe, Arlene Hutton's new play is a stark warning that this is not the case.
The intense two-hander takes place in Dallas, after the flight to New York that Nessa (Dana Brooke) was on was diverted when she took ill. After waking up in hospital and finding out the baby she is carrying has died, Nessa just wants to get back to California and see her doctor. Then there's Val (Elisabeth Nunziato), a lawyer appointed by the state to represent Nessa's dead foetus. Val is part of a larger group of politicians and advisors who are trying to determine how to proceed and whether or not Nessa has committed a crime.
Hutton drip feeds plot points with an exquisite sense of timing. These dramatically escalate the stakes because the longer Nessa has to wait to receive care, the more her life is at risk. Val's religious convictions mean that she refuses to release Nessa and wave her through to departures.
This is a powerful piece of activism, an excellently-crafted play, and perhaps more importantly, a public service announcement to anyone who can get pregnant: you are at risk even if you're just visiting or passing through a place that has criminalised abortion. None of us can be complacent.