JANE invites herself to the Cultural Center of Parc Berger this week

Violet Surprise Theater Company presents a staging of Jane: Abortion and the Underground, a fundraising performance for Midwest Action Coalition. The performance will be followed by a round table.

Paula Kamen’s part-documentary play is based on her original interviews with Chicago women who ran and operated the legendary Jane Service, which helped women access essential women’s health care before the Roe v. Wade only legalized abortion in 1973.

Kamen said: “Today, in post-Roe America, their story inspires, showing the power of feminist organizing and resistance. But it also provides insight into how illegal abortion can still be painful, even under the most ideal of circumstances – and the importance of keeping it legal in Illinois.”

Jane has been widely acclaimed and has had dozens of readings and productions since her Chicago debut in 1999, including the 2019 Off-Broadway Celebrity Reading at the Rattlestick Theater in New York, starring Cynthia Nixon and Monique Colman. Kamen also contributed research for the new June 2022 HBO documentary, “The Janes.”

The recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, inspired this cast and production team to bring this important story to the Chicago community. Violet Surprise Artistic Director Iris Sowlat said: “Jane is important at this time because it’s crucial that we remember, at a time when our reproductive rights are being taken away from us, what exactly the stakes are. The Jane piece reminds us of the perilous risks many women have had to take to gain autonomy over their own bodies, how far we have come since, and how we cannot take our reproductive health rights for granted.”


Pearl Leaf: Heather

Shannon Leigh WebberJody

Sherry Legare: Alice

Kaitlin Stewart: Ruth

Eileen Tull: Judith, Naomi, Patient One, Patient Seven, Caller Three Whitney Pipes: Micki, Radical Woman, Caller Four, Patient Two, Jane Two Shelley DeHosse: Millie, Sunny, Jane Three, Caller One, Patient Eight, Patient Three Tera Flores: Policewoman, Lory, Caller Two, Jane One, Playwright, Patient Six, Nancy Erik Schiller: Reverend, Dr. C., Nick, Steve, Radical Man, Medical Provider, Lawyer

Production team:

Iris Sowlat – Director, Producer, Co-Artistic Director of Violet Surprise Theater and Director

Chloe Gracias – Producer, Playwright, Lead Marketing

Paula Kamen – Playwright, Press/Media, Outreach

Angeli Primlani – Outreach, Press/Media

Allison Fradkin – Co-Artistic Director of Violet Surprise Theater

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