A timely and timeless show, Oh God, A Show About Abortion, is written and performed by Alison Leiby under the direction of Lila Neugebauer and the presentation of Ilana Glazer.
The show opens with Alison directly addressing the audience and naming the elephant in the room. She informs the audience that while the material of the show has not changed since the recent Supreme Court leak, reactions to the show have. Leiby says the show and discussion of abortion tend to elicit strong emotions. She reassures everyone that whatever comes up for them is valid and reminds them to let themselves feel their feelings. By starting the show affirming and validating the audience, Leiby is then able to jump headfirst into touchy territory without fear.
Leiby isn’t ashamed of her abortion. After all, the topic of the show is in the title. Oh God, A Show About Abortion reduces the stigma around reproductive health with sharp writing and compelling performance. The show is roughly 80 minutes that go by in a flash. Leiby explains the circumstances leading to her abortion, starting with her lack of sexual education. She holds nothing back, sharing her opinions on birth control, motherhood, and patriarchy.
The writing is hilarious. Leiby manages to make something that should not be funny, the death of (fetuses) very funny, a feat in and of itself. The show is riddled with relatable humor, often sending the audience into hysterics. The writing evokes both stand-up comedy and a political rallying cry.
Alison Leiby has a background in stand-up that blends beautifully with the intimacy of this one-woman show. She is at once both vulnerable and comedic, exposed and witty. After all, it is much easier to talk about morbid topics if one can laugh about them. In sharing her personal experience, Leiby sheds light on and destigmatizes something one in four women experience. Especially considering the recent laws restricting abortion in certain states and the proposed bills on the subject, it is nice to release all that pent-up political tension with a laugh. This show is cathartic, captivating, and crucial for audiences of all identities.
This show takes place on the main stage at Cherry Lane in front of a brick wall with no set, props, costume changes, or lighting changes. There is something to be said for a stripped-down performance with stripped-down tech. The whole affair felt very honest and real. This theatrical experience is politically invigorating and personally entertaining. Run, don’t walk to see Oh God, A Show About Abortion, you won’t be disappointed.
“Oh God, A Show About Abortion”
Performed by Alison Leiby
Directed by Lila Neugebauer
Running Time: 70 minutes
April 25, 2022 - June 4, 2022
Monday - Saturday 7 PM, Saturday 3 PM
Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street, New York City)
For tickets and more information: https://www.cherrylanetheatre.org
CARMEN BURBRIDGE is a Brooklyn-based actor and writer, originally from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. They have worked with New Dramatists, Portland Playhouse and The Farm Theater. It is her mission to create a convergence of hearts and minds in an effort to expose underrepresented stories and make the world a better place. They are passionate about trauma informed work, laughter, play and community.