For many years, Playhouse Square and University Hospitals (UH) have been partners in introducing families and children to the performing arts. Now, they are teaming up to offer a film version of Cleveland playwright David Hansen’s one-man show I Hate This (a play without the baby) as a new resource for education and healing. Hansen’s autobiographical, award-winning play details his experience as the father of a stillborn child – from the moment he and his wife learn about their son at a prenatal appointment, to the birth and the year that follows. The film, produced by Playhouse Square, is being used at UH as a tool to facilitate discussion among perinatal and neonatal nursing staff during bereavement education and training.
“At Playhouse Square, we believe the arts go beyond bringing people together for a shared experience; they can also have the power to help us in the healing process,” said Daniel Hahn, Playhouse Square Vice President of Education. “David’s raw and emotional processing of this traumatic, life-changing event in I Hate This (a play without the baby) shows audiences that they are not alone – there is a community and resources available to them.”
Hahn continued, “We would not be able to share this powerful performance without the support of University Hospitals. For nearly two decades, Playhouse Square and UH have been working together to bring impactful programming and further education through the arts here in Northeast Ohio. Now, we can extend our reach by providing the film version of I Hate This (a play without the baby) to its frontline staff who are helping families through this unimaginable time. We are grateful to UH for their long-standing partnership that makes it possible for us to connect so many families with the performing arts.”
The public film screening of I Hate This (a play without the baby) is taking place in the Westfield Studio Theatre at Playhouse Square on Saturday, October 15 at 7 p.m., coinciding with World Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Following the screening, there will be a live post-show conversation with Hansen, his wife Toni, the play’s director and a representative from University Hospitals. Hahn will moderate the panel. Tickets start at $5 and are available at playhousesquare.org.
“The play hopes to increase awareness for the tremendously painful experience of perinatal loss, in a small venue followed by an expert panel that allows the audience to experience and express their reactions and emotions in a safe space,” said Allison M. Remy, MSSA, LISW, The Joanie and Tom Adler Endowed Director of Parent Bereavement at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s and UH MacDonald Women’s hospitals.
Additional resources are available here.
About I Hate This (a play without the baby)
David Hansen’s play I Hate This (a play without the baby) is an autobiographical solo performance that takes you from the moment his son was born and through the year that follows… but not in that order. An honest, horrible, and even humorous trip through one father’s experience with stillbirth. David and his wife Toni learn at her 30-week check-up that their unborn child has died. Jumping back and forth between two timelines, David tells the story of the 36 hours between learning this truth and the birth of their first child, as well as the year that follows – detailing the frustration, recrimination, guilt, sorrow and ultimate acceptance of their son’s death. The actor plays over a dozen characters, including friends and family members who cannot express their feelings and medical practitioners (both compassionate and otherwise). He learns to cope with his anger and helplessness in the midst of grief, as well as fashioning a new way of looking at life.
The film screening is presented by University Hospitals.