Flint, MI—A contemporary comedy about women’s reproductive rights is coming to the FIM Flint Repertory Theatre from Feb. 3 to 19, 2023.
“I wrote the first draft in 2018,” said New York-based playwright and actor Nandita Shenoy. “At that time, I was just feeling a lot of anxiety about the state of women’s rights and how things were kind of working their way through the court system.”
Shenoy turned her anxiety into The Future is Female…, a play set in the “not-too-distant” future that explores a possible reaction to rolling back reproductive rights. Featuring an all-female cast and crew, the story’s action centers around four women at a female empowerment retreat as they learn “freedom” may not mean the same thing to all of them.
Shenoy does not shy away from the fact that since she first penned The Future is Female… the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturned Roe v. Wade and sent the issue of abortion access back to states—some of which have since worked to codify it and others moving “swiftly” to ban it.
“I think that current events, sadly, have had a lot of impact on how the tone [of the play] is taken, but I’ll say that the structure and the events of the play have stayed the same,” Shenoy said. “I mean, what I wrote in 2018 is essentially what’s on the page now, and what we’re doing now is just—I think it will be heard and received in a different way.”
Despite the seriousness of her topic, Shenoy jokes that she shouldn’t be taken as “a neurotic New Yorker” and playgoers can expect plenty of laughs.
“Even though this play was born out of, like, an incredible amount of anxiety on my part, it’s comedy,” Shenoy said. “I think it’s funny. Michael [Lluberes, the Rep’s producing artistic director] thinks it’s funny…and, you know, I think it allows us also to laugh at ourselves.”
Shenoy will star alongside Hallie Bee Bard, Siho Ellsmore and Clara Tristan in the all-female production, directed by Kathryn Walsh, premiering Friday, Feb. 3 and running through Feb. 19.
As for how she hopes audiences will receive The Future is Female…, Shenoy said simply: “I hope it’s the kind of play that you’ll laugh at on Saturday and think about on Sunday.”