The Supine Cobbler, playing in Toronto, takes a “non-judgmental” approach to abortion
Playing “out by the tracks” at 35 Strachan, It Could Still Happen‘s show The Supine Cobbler is timely. Earlier this week on Twitter, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion went viral, in response to the US House of Representatives voting to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, America’s largest women’s health care services provider. The fact that women still have to battle both stigma and legalities to have the right to decide what their own body does seem, frankly, outdated.
The Supine Cobbler plays with this, juxtaposing The Cobbler’s (played by Katie Swift) abortion with the traditionally male-dominated Western genre. The show uses many of the Western’s tropes – the hero’s dark past, the fire side talks, wanted posters and Mexican standoffs – to tell the tale of one woman’s abortion. The show highlights this juxtaposition further with anachronistic elements, such as whipping out cell phones when asked for the time (they are all anticipating high noon, after all) and discussing events happening on the internet.
The way the abortion is presented is non-judgmental and non-sentimental. No one tries to convince The Cobbler to not go through with it (instead they relate with their own stories of “that time I didn’t have a baby”). There’s no crying. The Cobbler just moves on with her life. It’s refreshing.
The Supine Cobbler is performed in a warehouse space in Liberty Village. It’s a stark, white space that has a lot of interactive elements put in, like a hanging line for clothing, three dangling buckets, and a ladder. Admittedly, I didn’t always “get” these elements (particularly the buckets, or dragging shovels along the floor) and don’t really know what they added to the show, save for making a bunch of noise.
The audience is asked to get up three-quarters of the way through the piece and sit in an entirely new area for the rest of the show. On the one hand, this was a tad disorienting, but on the other, the disorientation worked for that particular moment of the show, the abortion at high noon. They open doors to an entirely new area of the space, and walking to the procedure was reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
An excellent all-female cast, the anachronistic combination of time and genre, and the non-sentimental take on abortion make for a very interesting and worthy evening. Catch The Supine Cobbler while you still can.
- The Supine Cobbler is playing “out by the tracks”(35 Strachan Ave) until September 26.
- The remaining performances are Thursday to Saturday at 8:00 pm with a Saturday matinee at 2:00 pm (which is PWYC at the door).
- Tickets range from $20 and can be purchased online, or in person (cash only).
Photo of the cast by Samantha Madely.