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Play reveals the truth about childbirth

By Staff | Oct 29, 2009


WAILUKU — BOLD Maui will stage a benefit performance of “Birth,” Karen Brody’s powerful play that reveals the naked truth about childbirth, on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 3 p.m. at the Iao Theatre.

Kathy Collins’ performance will have you rolling on the floor. There may be tears of sadness, moments of anger and hearts opening from compassion.

The play was performed in September 2007 at the Iao Theatre for three shows. More than 750 people came to see it.

In addition to Collins from Mana‘o Radio, the cast includes Venus Rosete-Hill, Jeana Naluai, Chasity Nohealani Cadaoas, Ki‘inaniokalani Kaho‘ohanohano and Jennifer Noelani Garcia.

Their performances will expand your mind, open your heart and touch your soul.

“Birth” captures the truth about our childbirth crisis today: that it is failing most low-risk pregnant women. The play — performed as part of a global activist theatre movement known as BOLD —uncovers the secret lives of low-risk women in labor, as they confront coercion in hospitals and uncover “my body rocks” strategies for obtaining a powerful birth experience.

Through the stories of eight women, the audience begins to understand the truth behind how low-risk women are giving birth today.

Obstetrician-gynecologist and best-selling author Christiane Northrup said, “Now it’s time to free birth canals — and pregnant women everywhere. And that is the power and glory contained in this magnificent, funny and wonderfully wise play. And also for BOLD, the organization that is getting the word out about the joys of normal birth.”

In the play, the audience meets women like Sandy, a mother who thinks birth is “just one day” but is forced to confront an awakening to this notion; Amanda, who roars “my body rocks!” throughout her birth; Vanessa, who is drawn to an epidural; Natalie, who wants one type of birth but gets the complete opposite; and Beth, who loves her C-section.

Brody founded BOLD in 2006 to use her play to raise awareness and money to promote childbirth choices that work for mothers.

She explained, “Pregnancy today is typically viewed as an illness and emergency. BOLD uses theatre to raise people’s consciousness that childbirth is normal. Once this is recognized, people will start demanding a childbirth model of care that is compassionate, evidence-based and puts the mother at the center of her birth experience.”

The performance on Maui will benefit Women Who Care, whose mission is to educate, empower and inspire women to make clear, healthy life choices by providing space for dialog, expression and healing.

The vision for the Nov. 1 performance is a little different, said Women Who Care founder Robin Garrison. 

“This time, we wanted to reach out to the local community,” Garrison said. “The local community was not represented in the audience. So… we chose a local cast — strong, wise, empowered women from our community. We are hoping that the cast will attract their ‘ohana, and that each one from there will teach another. We are also looking into community outreach for the play and are hoping to perform in the prison and other community settings. We are doing a one-act play this time, so that there is time afterwards for community discussion. We really want to make an impact and take some positive steps towards mother-friendly birth on Maui.”

For more information on the play, visit www.BOLDaction.org.

Tickets are $20 in advance (available through www.womenwhocare.org) and $25 at the door. Call Garrison at (808) 283-3500.