Front Lines: Words of Choice

Date(s) - Friday 10/30/2009 - 10/31/2009
11:00 pm - 2:00 am

Words of Choice logo


On October 30, 2009 at 7 pm, Words of Choice is teaming up with The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY, to present an entirely unique evening on reproductive freedom. “Here’s a scary thought the night before Halloween — women losing their rights!”

To download a flyer for this event, click here (PDF requires Acrobat Reader or Apple Preview).

We’re doing a Creativity Workshop with participants, led by Cindy Cooper, award-winning playwright, journalist, and creator of the social-activist theatre organization Words of Choice.. We’re hearing selections from Words of Choice by the wonderful Words of Choice actresses Claudia Schneider and Abigail Ramsay. We’re showing DVD excerpts. AND, we’re being joined by Alexis Greene, co-editor of the hot new book “Front Lines: Political Plays by American Women.” (Alexis trained as an actress … and she’ll be doing some of that, too!)


CONGRATS, Cindy, for being honored with the prestigious NARAL ProChoice America 2009 Champion of Choice Award on Oct 14!

“Projects such as Words of Choice are especially important now as anti-choice lawmakers continue their attacks in Congress and in the states. Dr. George Tiller’s recent murder at his church in Wichita serves as a reminder of what can come from the violence and rhetoric aimed at women and abortion providers. We would like to recognize your courage and dedication to advancing reproductive freedom at this critical time,” wrote Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.


Words of Choice is … a dynamic pro-choice theater. Located in New York City, our ensemble performs and supports pro-choice activism. A woman’s right to choose soars in a tapestry of 14 powerful ‘shorts’ — serious and comic. Excerpts of “Words of Choice” will be performed by an actor for this event. Created by Cindy Cooper, the play is a collection of savvy and sophisticated works by a dozen writers.

“Words of Choice” weaves together the words of many writers …. smart, funny, endangered. These are stories from the heart: humorous and serious; poignant and riveting, from theater, spoken word, comedy, poetry, oral history and journalism. They’ve traveled to 20 states to open new conversations about choice. See

FRONT LINES: Book of Plays Includes Words of Choice!

The New Press has just released Front Lines: Political Plays by American Women, edited by Alexis Greene and Shirley Lauro. From the country’s leading female playwrights, seven brilliant plays on the hot-button issues of our time. Words of Choice — in its original version — is among the seven contemporary plays from the country’s leading female playwrights on “hot-button issues” of our time.

The New Press writes: Front Lines is a pathbreaking collection of the most important, critically acclaimed plays written by the country’s leading con-temporary female playwrights. In the preface, Shirley Lauro writes: Ever since this country came into being, women have waged battles for rights in the pages of their plays, and on the stages where those plays were performed.

The Library Journal writes: Plays tell stories, and the best ones stay with us. Compiled by theater critic Greene (Women Who Write Plays) and playwright Lauro (Open Admissions), the stories in this collection of critically acclaimed works by seven leading female playwrights address some of the most contentious of contemporary issues, and they will stick in readers’ minds for a long time. Cindy Cooper’s Words of Choice looks at the issue of reproductive choice in first-person accounts, poems, and satire. In Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, Quiara Alegría Hudes deftly interweaves the tales of three gener-ations of Latino men who served in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The Exonerated, by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, is based on interviews with men and women on death row for crimes they did not commit. Also included are plays by Paula Vogel, Emily Mann, Lauro, and Nilaja Sun. Recommended for all academic and public drama collections.

Writing in the introduction, Alexis Greene describes Words of Choice:

Words of Choice, a compilation of first-person accounts, satiric sketches, and poems, illuminates the many angles from which Americans approach the issues of reproductive choice, especially the choice of whether or not to have an abortion. Among other things, the play is intended as a warning about the consequences of reversing the 1973 Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States. A father describes how his daughter was assaulted and raped one Fourth-of-July evening, as she walked home through Washington, D.C. [originally from a book of interviews by Angela Bonavoglia.] There is an excerpt from entertainer Kathy Najimy’s stand-up comedy show Parallel Lives and a sprightly riff about an imaginary “morning-after burrito” from Taco Bell [originally from The Onion.] There is also nurse Emily Lyons’s account of being blown nearly apart by a bomb, which antiabortionist Eric Rudolph exploded at a Birmingham, Alabama, women’s clinic in 1998. “I’ve been to war,” Lyons says. “I’ve gone to hell, and I’ve come back.” Greene begins her comments by saying, “Playwrights have a responsibility to address the social and political issues of their time,” and concludes with noting that the underlying political issue of all of the plays in the volume is the drive to preserve an individual’s freedom.”

CREATIVITY and REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE! The evening will include a Words of Choice Creativity Workshop! The audience will be guided to experiment with arts, ideas and creative expression to explore their thinking, experience, collected information and feelings about Reproductive Freedom. Find out how you and your organization can expand your outreach, your messaging, your emotional health and your impact by incorporating creative techniques and using the arts with our AIRR programs!

More about Cindy Cooper: Cindy Cooper is an award-winning playwright and journalist in New York City. Her plays have been produced in New York, regional theaters, Canada and parts of Europe, including at the Women’s Project, Primary Stages, Art and Work Ensemble, the Women’s Project in Minneapolis, Venus Theater, and elsewhere. Among her works is How She Played the Game about six women in sports history. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, her plays are contained in eleven volumes, including ‘Great Monologues for Women’ and ‘On The Edge.’ With a background as a lawyer, she was communications director in the field of reproductive justice, she first created ‘Words of Choice’ in 2000. Read a commentary by Cindy here: On the Road with Choice.

To learn more, check out the blog: “Up the Creativity or AIRR” –artistic investigations of reproductive rights,” about creative actions on choice.


The following is a poem, created by the audience during the Words of Choice event:


Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy NY
Poem by Audience:
Reproductive Freedom


The right of any person to choose whether or not to parent.
Freedom for MY BODY, my mind, my spirit…for my own choice.
The ability to decide when, where and why.
Rights to one’s own mind, spirit, life & livelihood!


The ability to make decisions on what birth control to use, to enjoy MYSELF with the same consequences a man would have.

Freedom to learn, understand and exercise the right to decide when and whether to be a parent, and to access quality care, regardless of MY choices.


The freedom to choose how I love myself in the present & future; the freedom to choose the legacy I have.

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Words of Choice: dynamic pro-choice theater and creativity initiatives