Despite facing challenges to find a cast – Roe is all set to play!


Fern Barber

(Left) Happy Mason playing Ronda Mackey, opposite to Danielle White playing pregnant woman 3. Both Mason and White play multiple characters in Roe.

Skand S., News Contributor

“Two Women. Multiple Truths. One Landmark Supreme Court Case.” 

This is the tagline for the play “Roe that is ready to show after a rough search for a cast starting Feb 24. to Mar. 5 at The Majestic Theater in downtown Corvallis.

The play is about the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortions in the United States, which was overturned in another historical ruling by the apex court last year.

It was not a smooth journey for the director of the play, Maxine Agather as one of the challenges she faced was to put together the cast. The script has two women of color in the show to have multiple perspectives. 

According to Agather, the dissipation of the local theater community due to the pandemic and the general trend of non-musical plays getting less turn outs have contributed to her struggle to find the cast.

It was only in the very last moment, Agather was able to get confirmation from the cast member — an hour before the deadline.

“I’m so excited with who we did get, and it has ultimately worked out for the best,” Agather said.

If Agather was unable to find the cast member to play the role, the play would have been canceled.

The play, written by Lisa Loomer first premiered in 2016 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. After the Supreme Court’s overturning of the judgment, the playwright did make edits to the script by adding a prologue and an epilogue to it. 

Agather, who previously directed a readers theater at the Majestic Theatre, said that the process of directing Roe started in 2018. The show originally intended on having the auditions in late 2020, however, owing to COVID-19 the plans were delayed.

For Agather, this play is special as it combines all of her favorite things – her love for theater and social justice.

“I, even pre-Roe v. Wade being overturned, felt this was an important conversation to keep in the dialogue to have it be a part of the culture,” Agather said. “It was a win-win that I got to tell this very relevant story that meant a lot to me.”

The play delves into the history of the case and the supreme court proceedings but also sheds light on several people involved with it — especially the plaintiff, Norma McCorvey and the lawyer, Sarah Weddington who argued for it.

Cathleen Hockman-Wert, one of the cast members who plays the lawyer said that she was excited to take up the role.

“(Sarah Weddington) was only 26 years old when she argued that case before the Supreme Court – which is just amazing to think about,” Hockman-Wert said.

Hockman-Wert was initially hesitant to audition for the play as she knew that she would be telling a graphical story of a botched abortion. However, she decided to take up the role as she felt that it was important to talk about what making abortion illegal means to people.

For Hockman-Wert, the relation to  Roe v. Wade goes back to her mother and how her mother was one of the people to vote to make Colorado one of the firsts states to legalize abortion.

According to Agather, the show has themes of love, triumph and struggle as the play follows the human stories of the characters.Although the messaging of the play has a clear pro-choice stance, it still represents multiple viewpoints on the issue in a very real and respectful way.

“My hope would be that regardless of what perspective you come in with, you leave with a better understanding of where other people are coming from and maybe more compassion for all sides of the argument,” Agather said.

Roe plays at The Majestic Theater in downtown Corvallis from Feb. 24 – March 5 and tickets can be purchased here.

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