Last month, I worked with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) for their production of This Boat Called My Body at Palmisano Park in Chicago. The piece was part of the 2nd season of public work for their performance company For Youth Inquiry (FYI).
There is a lot that can be said about my experiences capturing this performance. For one, I’ve never photographed a theatrical performance in a quarry before, so that was cool! The weather was overcast that day, so it helped a bit with the quality and evenness of light, but it did present a few challenges.
The thoughts I keep gravitating toward are to the messages of the piece, especially in our current political climate.
Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, it’s been a constant slide toward overturning that ruling. Without getting too deep into the weeds now, as we watch countries like Ireland — historically a conservative, Catholic nation in regards to abortion — recently vote to end their ban, it’s interesting to watch America try to move in the opposite direction. With Justice Kennedy recently retiring from the Supreme Court, fears of Roe v. Wade being overturned are a bit closer to reality.
My thoughts also gravitate toward me. I have no idea what it’s like to get pregnant, or almost pregnant. Why should someone like me have the right to inhibit a choice? Why should someone like me have the ability to take away those rights?
The themes of the play walked the audience through these issues, to discuss the hurdles and challenges with legal abortion. To talk through the health risks, the fears, and the trauma around making this choice.
With such a polarizing topic, I don’t expect to change any minds. To experience someone else’s struggle, we have to hear their story for ourselves — and with This Boat Called My Body, we get to do just that.