As Ireland prepares to head to the polls this month (on 25 May) to vote on legalising abortion, and the UK marks the 50th anniversary of The Abortion Act of 1967 coming into effect, Keith Hindell’s new play Dead or Alive? A Drama in the Womb looks afresh at issues around women’s reproductive rights. It premieres this week at London’s Theatro Technis – time to get booking!
Dead or Alive? is written by veteran broadcaster and abortion reform campaigner Keith Hindell and directed by Kasia Rozycki. It runs at London’s Theatro Technis from 15 to 26 May 2018, with a press night on 18 May.
This timely new play examines abortion at a point when, in the UK, a woman’s right to choose is still limited by law, although medical advances have made the procedure safer and easier than ever before.
In Dead or Alive?, a pregnant woman ponders whether to abort the twin embryos she is carrying and discusses it directly with them. One of them wants the right to live, while the other respects her mother’s decision. Her tentative intention to abort is forcefully challenged by a modern prince charming, the putative father. The situation is further complicated when two strange creatures emerge from “inner space”. Ultimately, the woman must choose the fate of her unborn children.
The Abortion Act of 1967 enables a pregnant woman to qualify for an abortion if two doctors certify that her symptoms meet certain criteria. Abortions in Britain which do not meet these minimum tests are still illegal, subject to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Over the 50 years since the 1967 Act came into effect, those who favoured abortion inside and outside of the medical profession have built a system that interprets the Act liberally. Currently, much of the medical establishment has declared itself in favour of repealing the 1967 Act. With new, medically safe pills in her hand, a pregnant woman can use them as she pleases without having to meet any medical or moral criteria. Use of such pills has been declared illegal in Northern Ireland, where the 1861 Act makes virtually all abortion a criminal act, but has not yet been determined by the British Courts.
About Keith Hindell
Keith Hindell was a broadcaster for the BBC, working as their United Nations Correspondent from 1980-84 and as a presenter of Peaceful Solutions and Media Watch in the BBC World Service in the late 1980s and 90s. He has also served as the UN Information Officer in London, and the Chairman of London and the South East Region for the UN Association. In the 1970s he was on the board of Pregnancy Advisory Service, a non-profit organisation providing abortion and contraception services in London. He was also the co-author with Madeleine Simms of Abortion Law Reformed (Peter Owen 1971, reissued as a paperback in 2012).
Dead or Alive? runs from 15 to 26 May 2018 at Theatro Technis, 26 Crowndale Road, Camden, London NW1 1TT, with performances (75 minutes) every day except Sunday 20 May at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced £12 (concessions £10). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Meet the company
Dead or Alive? stars Joanna Cordle as the woman, with Natasha Jacobs and James Glyn as the unborn male and female embryos. Nik Salmon plays the man, with Lucy Hilton-Jones and Aaron Kehoe playing two excitable sperm cells.