Northwestern alumnae present play at Edinburgh Festival Fringe


Source: Olivia Munk

The cast of “The Squirrel Play” perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The play is part of a two-part performance.

Ahlaam Delange, Reporter

The production company Part of Main is teaming up with two Northwestern alumnae to present “The Squirrel Plays” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

“The Squirrel Plays” by Communication Prof. Mia McCullough (Communication ’92) is a two-part performance, made up of companion plays “Infestations” and “Compensation.” The plays explore abortion and the decision to have children through the metaphor of a squirrel infestation. Newlyweds Sarah and Tom move into a new neighborhood and encounter an unwelcomed squirrel in their new home. A test to any marriage, they have to choose to get rid of or keep the squirrel.

McCollough, who taught at NU for ten years, has been writing the play since 2005, according to producer Olivia Munk.

“I love working on the show because it’s funny, nuanced, and powerful take on abortion,” Munk said. “By addressing abortion through the lens of squirrel infestation, anyone, no matter their stance on the issue, can become closer to the issue more comfortable and gain a better of women’s relationships to their bodies.”

McCullough’s play gives audiences an American perspective on abortion referendums at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe throughout the month of August, directed by fellow NU alumnae Jessica Bickel-Barlow (Communication ’15). Barlow and Munk met shortly after her graduation and the two decided to take on the challenge of producing a show in London.

“A year and a bit later we’ve performed it at three venues,” Munk said. “(We) will take on our biggest challenge yet at Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.”

Munk said it’s been an “incredible” experience working with various artists since their first production. McCullough joined Munk and Barlow in London during the final rehearsals of the play in May, prior to the first previews of the play.

With the recent nominee President Donald Trump picked for the Supreme Court , some fear the United States is facing the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being overturned, making the play even more important in the current moment, Munk said.

“I’m proud to be presenting a play that deals with abortion in such a frank yet gentle way,” said Munk. “It doesn’t shy away from the fact that it’s difficult, emotional issue. It’s a hard choice for the protagonist to make, but it’s absolutely the right decision for her at that point in her life.”

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