By Noah Ravan ’23
Wofford College will be the site for the premiere developmental performance of Kelcey Anyá’s play “Roe v. US” on Feb. 23.
Anyá is a performer and writer who has worked in productions from Chicago to New York City. She will hold a workshop on campus the next day.
She hopes to open a dialogue around the recent Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade through her 8 p.m. performance on Feb. 23 in the Sallenger Sisters Black Box Theatre. Admission is free.
“I am a firm believer in the idea that people have an easier time discussing hard topics when they've experienced them in a way that is digestible, such as through performance,” says Anyá. “As a writer, I want to address the elephant in the room. People should expect to be challenged and confronted.”
Anyá collected stories from women of color who’ve had abortions to shape the one-woman performance.
“‘Roe v. US’ causes us to confront the system we live in and how that system has informed our perspectives,” says Anyá. “Whether you believe you are on the right side of history or not, I believe that Roe will hit us all right where we need to in order to look inward.”
After the performance, Anyá will hold a talkback, where the audience will be invited to offer thoughts on the production.
“I hope to have honest, raw, conversations,” says Anyá. “I genuinely want to hear what’s going on in people's hearts and minds after the show. Did the audience feel challenged? Confronted? Are they walking away with a new perspective?”
On Feb. 24 at 4 p.m., Anyá will lead a workshop titled “The Art of Telling Stories” in the Sallenger Sisters Black Box Theatre. She’ll discuss how to take narratives from paper to the stage while discussing the creative process, invoking authentic emotion without re-traumatization.
Anyá has performed in a regional production of “The Color Purple” and choreographed the regional premier of “A Hard Knock Life: A Dance Adaptation of Annie” in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“In 2019, I wrote, produced and performed my first solo show, ‘Out of the Box,’ and that is where I found a passion for writing and performing works based on biographical stories,” Anyá says.
Maya Michele Fein, a professor of theatre, selected Anyá to perform as an effort to bring diverse perspectives to Wofford’s community.
“In spring of 2022, I was looking to bring artists that could enrich our campus through Wofford’s Cultural Affairs Grant and put out a call for proposals,” says Fein. “Upon receiving Kelcey's materials and conversing with her, I knew she had a powerful story to share that needed to be heard.”
Fein also hopes people will be inspired to tell their stories.
“There are so many stories that need to be told in the world,” says Fein. “Hopefully Kelcey's workshop will spark and support participants to develop their own stories in a healthy way.”
The events are sponsored by a cultural affairs grant from the college, The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and The Office of Inclusive Engagement.