When I was a young woman on the brink of adulthood I got pregnant and had an abortion. Fourteen years later, I had a second abortion even though this time I would marry the father. On the surface, I went about the business of my career as a theatre artist determined to make something of myself—but, underneath lay a genuine fear of motherhood and, when my husband expressed an interest in starting a family—a persistent shame took hold. Something was seriously wrong with me—I just plain wasn’t feeling The Urge.
This was the hardest truth I’ve ever had to admit and, once I did, the consequences were many and varied. They brought into question my career as a writer/performer, caused the divorce from my husband and best friend, and sparked the explosion of my identity. By the end of 1986 I’d lost everything. Then, out of the ashes rose an urge to make it up to my unborn babies that eventually lead me to found the Virginia Avenue Project, a non-profit using Theatre Arts and long-term mentoring to give struggling children life skills.
For 22 years I was the project’s Artistic Director, working with children throughout their growing years as a teacher, mentor, director, collaborator and substitute mother. I taught playwriting, poetry, performance art and creative dramatics. I produced four shows a year in professional theatres featuring children and their adult writing and/or acting partners and, in the process, raised hundreds of children.
–David S., age 14
When I retired from the Virginia Avenue Project at the end of 2013, I started writing Why Water Falls, a solo play about a fiction writer who has to do her least favorite thing in the world—write about herself. In the struggle she comes face to face with her ambivalence about having children and the consequences that ensued when life made the decision for her. I think of it as True Fiction because I use fictional characters to tell the true story of my journey, particularly as it relates to children.
My main purpose in writing Why Water Falls was to take the shame out of not wanting to have children while taking a fresh look at the impact the two souls I aborted had on my life, and ultimately on my understanding of motherhood.
In 2015, Why Water Falls had its World Premiere Production at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, which lead to a successful run Off-Off Broadway.
–Jane Alexander, Actress and Chair of the NEA under President Bill Clinton
I’m particularly interested in sharing Why Water Falls with the women of CMoma and anyone struggling to put irrevocable life choices in perspective.
–Michael Weller, Playwright
This spring, I’ll be bringing Why Water Falls back to LA for two more performances and will be inviting the women of CMoma to share the journey with me. A friend led me to Marcy Cole, who introduced me to the healing work you are all doing and I realized how NOT alone I’ve really been, even though I didn’t know it. I hope to get to know you and the work you’re doing better.
Sunday, April 3 at 3:30 and Sunday, April 17 at 3:30
at Highways Performance Space
1651 18th Street at 18th Street Arts Center
1/2 block North of Olympic in Santa Monica
Online tickets: www.highwaysperformance.org | phone reservations: 310-315-1459
Tickets are $15 | Group rate for 10 or more people is $12/ticket
Learn more about Leigh and Why Water Falls on her website, www.leighcurran.net.
Click here to read the OuterStage Review of the play…
And here, to see testimonials from Celebrities.