You Wouldn’t Expect unfolds at a local Eugenics office in 1960’s North Carolina where we see the cat-and-mouse workings of the two women who work there. Here, four African-American woman are pressured to be sterilized, part of a racist practice sanctioned by our government for over a decade. We are also brought to the squalid shack of a pedophile father angling to get his daughter “fixed” so that he won’t have to deal with outcome of his actions, the offspring. The North Carolina Board enabled county departments of public welfare to petition the Board to sterilize their clients. The majority of these sterilizations were coerced, and academic sources have observed that this was not only an ableist and classist project but also a racist one. Of the 7,686 people who were sterilized in North Carolina after 1933, 5,000 were Black. The Board remained in operation until 1977.
Cezar Williams directs a cast of eight, including Cherie Danielle, Adiagha Faizah, Carl Fisk, Erin Gilbreth*, Ross G. Hewitt, Malikha Mallette, Okema T Moore*, and Atiya Yanique Taylor.
Notes from the playwright, Marilynn Barner Anselmi:
I didn’t know anyone touched by the horror of eugenics; however, after learning of it, it haunted me. So I researched the topic and met many of the victims (in print and in person)—and the characters in You Wouldn’t Expect stepped out of this shameful (and largely unrecorded) chapter in our nation’s history. To date YWE has been performed around the country and the short film version has been around the world. Theatrical performances include: The National Black Theatre Conference, The DC Black Theatre Festival, The August Wilson Center, and several universities including North Carolina State University, University of NC Pembroke, Barton College, NC Wesleyan College and Wellesley College. This is the NYC premiere.
About the Company: American Bard Theater Company
The American Bard Theater Company is a not-for-profit organization serving the Greater New York community. Founded in 2009, our objectives are to produce classical and contemporary plays that connect to our current socio-political climate, to join with our audience in exploring humanity, and to develop a varied network of artists.
Theater: Chain Theater
Address: 312 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
Cost:Tickets are $10 for previews, $25 for general admission, and $20 for seniors and students.
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