Women decide to have children for many reasons. And some choose not to have them for reasons as numerous.
While some degree of selfishness can factor into both choices, Glynis Wilson Boultbee believes society judges childless women much more harshly.
Just the other day, she heard someone call them “self-involved narcissists,” who want to spend their money only on themselves.
While Wilson Boultbee knows the majority of society wouldn’t phrase it that way, she believes some level of hurtful judgment is applied to those “who go against the norm” — and she should know.
About 10 years ago, Wilson Boultbee and her husband Paul Boultbee made a final decision that ended many years of debating the pros and cons of procreating. They decided against having children for personal reasons that included having more freedom to explore their artistic pursuits.
Paul is an artist and community actor. Glynis is a writer who has also worked in theatrical and artistic fields.
In her latest project, Wilson Boultbee is writing and directing a play called Fertile Choices, which opens on Thursday, March 25, at The Matchbox as the first offering in Ignition Theatre’s Original Voices series.
The experimental play will explore decisions around the issue of childbearing — or not bearing — and is actually based on a joint exhibit of Boultee’s poetry and Michele Dupuis’s sculptures, which ran in Red Deer several years ago.
Through writing poems about her decision, Wilson Boultbee came to realize that “every choice has a consequence, and it often involves a gift and a sacrifice.”
“There were moments when I became aware of what I didn’t get,” the 53-year-old admitted. But there were other moments “when I rejoice about what my life is.”
Fertile Choices, which was written with input from Ignition Theatre artistic director Matt Grue, involves a cast of six women who, through poetry and dialogue, allow various decisions to play out on stage.
Wilson Boultbee said the play does not have a conventional plot, but will present scenes and monologues in an abstracted way. “Some women will enter each other’s stories and some may start acting out someone else’s story.” One scene, about women who discover their childbearing years have gone by, will involve a ticking clock.
Wilson Boultbee said the female characters will have a series of conversations that will go beyond the issue of whether to give birth. “The discussion will spill out onto other life decisions.”
Through developing the play, she spoke to a wide variety of women with and without children, and had great conversations about the “fascinating” choices the women made in various aspects of their lives.
The play puts these decisions under a magnifying glass, said Wilson Boultbee, who believes Fertile Choices will likely resonate most strongly with women who are thinking about not having children.
But she stressed, “I never wanted to come down one way or the other on the issue . . . I don’t want at the end of the play for people to feel, oh, those are the smart ones.”
What she would like is to help viewers understand another point of view on what’s a complicated, emotional and thorny issue.
What: Ignition Theatre presents Fertile Choices, an original play by Glynis Wilson Boultbee
When: 7:30 p.m., March 25 to 28
Where: The Matchbox, Red Deer
Tickets: $22 ($18 students/seniors) Ticketmaster