Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: “Maz & Bricks” Explores Ireland’s Repeal of the Abortion Ban

Eva O'Connor's passionate and touching play, at Solas Nua, looks at the human side of a complicated issue.

Solas Nua: Eva O'Connor, Jonathan Feuer, Emily Kester
Solas Nua: Emily Kester, Jonathan Feuer, Eva O’Connor

In 1983, “The Hateful 8th” amendment to the Irish constitution was signed into law, with the effect of making abortions illegal in the Catholic country.

And so it was for decades up until just a few years ago, after a concerted effort to sway public opinion and push for a repeal of the ban on abortion eventually paid off.

Pro-choice advocates in the U.S. might want to review the Irish case for any insights and ideas that might work for them in the likely event the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade next month.

What they’ll find is that artists played a sizable role in advancing the Irish repeal effort, many of whom committed to creating art tackling the issue of reproductive issues and rights.

Among those taking up the charge was young Irish playwright Eva O’Connor, who wrote Maz & Bricks, “a passionate, funny, and touching play,” offering “a timely, compelling look at the human side of a complicated issue.”

It’s set at a “Repeal the 8th” rally in Dublin circa 2017, where the play’s two young leads meet cute, and then develop an unlikely bond as the day unfolds, in a way that will go on to change each other in ways they never thought possible.

Solas Nua, the D.C.-based contemporary Irish arts organization whose name means New Light in Irish, will stage a production of O’Connor’s play starring Emily Kester as Maz and Jonathan Feuer as Bricks, and directed by the company’s Rex Daugherty.

“While abortion is one of the most polarizing topics in our society, this play isn’t a debate,” says Daugherty. “It’s a lens into how this issue deeply affects our relationships. And the play is quite funny — only an Irish writer could show us how to bring humor into this loaded issue. I can’t wait for audiences to laugh, think, and feel along with us in this dynamic piece of writing.”

Assistant producer and dramaturg Charlotte La Nasa will lead post-show discussions after the performances of June 10, 17 and 25, with panelists representing reproductive rights groups, primarily intended to help theatergoers learn more about the best ways to get involved.

Opens Thursday, June 9 and runs through June 26.

Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE.

Tickets are $45, or pay-what-you-can on June 9 and 10.

Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.solasnua.org.

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