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Playwright's 'Birth' is labor of love

For four years -- more than twice as long as an elephant's gestation period -- Karen Brody labored over her play about the ultimate conclusion of pregnancy. Then, "Birth" was born.


Between 2000 and 2004, Brody interviewed more than 100 women across the country about childbirth. The eight characters in the play give a mash-up of their stories. Athletic Amanda expounds upon her belief in natural delivery. Sandy tells how an emergency C-section altered her universe. Feminist Janet explains why she insisted on as much medical intervention as possible.

What "The Vagina Monologues" did for women's sexuality, "Birth" aspires to do for childbirth. St. Louisans can decide for themselves if Brody meets her goal when "Birth" plays at the Schlafly Bottleworks on Sunday, Aug. 29.

Babies are welcome to attend (with parents, of course) and a panel discussion follows the play.

"Birth" is produced by BOLD, a worldwide arts-based movement with a goal of creating workable childbirth choices. Local nonprofit partners include Doulas of Greater St. Louis, Friends of Missouri Midwives, International Cesarean Awareness Network and Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble.

Nancy Fowler Larson is a freelance writer who, among other topics, covers theater for the Beacon. This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.