Berth Breach/Breech Birth
Directed by Kyle Haden
Lead sponsor: Donna Ritchie
During a house call for a pregnant mare, a veterinarian discovers an entire ship filled with enslaved people, inside the horse’s uterus. And one enslaved man sees her, too. Is she imagining it all? Can she get them out? And if she can, what happens to them then? What has happened to any of us? This play explores the world of a Black farming community in America and examines how cycles of birth, life, and death look much different to those of the African Diaspora.
Berth Breach/Breech Birth will be performed live over Zoom on Saturday, April 24, at 7:00 pm PT and Sunday, April 25, at 2:00 pm PT.
Tickets are available on a sliding scale.
When my daughter was doing her pre-vet undergrad courses, she’d regularly text me pictures of herself with an arm shoulder-deep in a cow or sheep, a huge smile on her face. She’d talk about her animal husbandry labs. There’s a close relationship between the life cycle of births, castrations, and the stories of deaths. There’s a service nature to herd animals and livestock. They are literally bred for consumption or to work.
In Myung Mi Kim’s book of poetry, “Commons,” Kim includes quotes from Renaissance-era scientists regarding animal and human dissections. In an interview, Kim discussed using her poems to look at how anatomy emerged as a science during voyages to the ‘New World.’ “The idea of looking at the body – more, looking inside it – to inculcate a culture of dissection.” That quote rocked me. That’s what this country was built on. It’s what was done to our ancestors. Kim refers to it as “discovering/owning/naming.” Yep.
It is this aspect of the science, its intersection with humanity, and the history of slavery in America that I want to explore in this play: the discovering/owning/naming. And to do it within a Black farming community, allowing a small, personal story to house these big concepts. I’m hoping that I can speak to all of that in Berth Breach/Breech Birth. That sense of history and mystery, connection and disconnection, grief and birth. Oh, and it’s also funny and joyful. I hope that the play stirs us to honestly acknowledge our past and connections we may think we’ve lost.
|Ashanti Taylor||Christiana Clark|
|Nnamdi/Ernest||Desean K. Terry|
|Marcus Taylor||Shaun Heard|
|Debra Ann Higgins||Josie Seid|
|Stage directions||Samantha Wynette Miller|
Rural Illinois, present. The Taylor kitchen. A horse stall. A feed storage room. The womb of a mare. A slave ship. Other “spaces” on stage as denoted.
Play Length: 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission)
Inda Craig-Galván writes stuff – mostly plays and TV. Her work often explores intra-racial conflicts and politics within the African-American community. Grounded in reality with a touch of magical realism that fucks with time & memories.
Inda’s currently developing new works of theatre on commission with Primary Stages, Company One, and The Old Globe.
Produced plays include Black Super Hero Magic Mama (Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles) and I Go Somewhere Else (Playwrights’ Arena, Los Angeles). Inda is the recipient of the Kesselring Prize, Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award, Blue Ink Playwriting Prize, Jane Chambers Student Award for Feminist Playwriting, and Stage Raw Best Playwright Award. Inda’s plays have been included on the Kilroys List and Steppenwolf Theatre’s The Mix.
Inda has developed & presented work at Ojai Playwrights Conference, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, The Old Globe Powers New Voices Festival, Kitchen Dog Theatre New Works Festival, Black & Latino Playwrights Conference, WomenWorks, Humanitas, Chalk Repertory Theatre, Skylight Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Trustus Theatre Playwrights Festival, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Intiman, and others.
On the TV side, Inda is a writer on the new JJ Abrams series Demimonde (HBO), and previously wrote on Happy Face, How to Get Away with Murder, and The Rookie.
MFA in Theatre: Dramatic Writing, University of Southern California.
Click here to read our Q&A with Inda.
Kyle Haden was ANPF’s artistic director for six years where he directed readings of Primary User; I Can Go; Hazardous Materials; and The Luckiest People for ANPF, as well as performing in readings of Go. Please. Go.; Edward III; and Now This. He was named a 2018 Drama League Directing Fellow and has directed various productions across the country, including the award-winning world premiere of Hazardous Materials (Creede Repertory Theatre); A Brief History of America (Hangar Theatre Company); Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale (Island Shakespeare Festival); and The Tens (Actors Theatre of Louisville). As an actor, Kyle has performed at regional theatres including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (three seasons), Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Arizona Theater Company, City Theatre Company, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Cleveland Play House, as well as various theatres in New York and Chicago. Kyle is also a senior coordinating producer with Black Lives, Black Words International Project and the interim senior associate head of the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is an assistant professor of acting.