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Stages and Pages: What A Young Wife Ought to Know


It's 1920s working-class Ottawa, and young wife and mother Sophie talks directly to the audience. You will be immediately situated in farm girl Sophie's world.  In her innocence and ignorance, she is desperate for answers about love, marriage, and birth control.  Deceased sister Alma  speaks to her. Her stableboy husband Johnny makes very little money. Sophie does not want more children. 

Hanna Moscovitch's What a Young Wife Ought to Know is a sensual, sometimes funny, love story. Sophie's journey through womanhood and motherhood is sometimes tragic, sometimes ridiculous, and always recognizable. Be prepared to find yourself laughing at things that are also heartbreaking.  The topic of lack of sexual and reproductive information and support remains very relevant today.  

See the play at the GCTC between January 16 and February 4, 2018.  

Check out the titles below to explore further the theme of education and information and rights of women in reproduction.   


GCTC 2017-2018: What a Young Wife Ought to Knowpar Jill_Biblio

As part of the Ottawa Public Library's “Stages and Pages” partnership with the Great Canadian Theatre Company, we have compiled this list to accompany the production of What a Young Wife Ought to Know, which opens at the GCTC on January 16, 2018.

  • Image: Not Funny Ha-ha
    In this graphic novel, Mary and Lisa are pregnant and don't want to be. Without explaining how or why they decided to terminate their pregnancies, Hayes draws each woman choosing one of two types of abortion: surgical or medical. The sketchy illustrations are meant to be a non-judgmental, comforting, even humorous.
  • Image: Reproductive Rights

    Reproductive Rights

    Who Decides?
    By Wittenstein, Vicki O.
    Examines the history of, principal players in, and politics surrounding the issues of reproductive control and family planning methods.
  • Image: The Moral Property of Women

    The Moral Property of Women

    A History of Birth Control Politics in America
    By Gordon, Linda
    The widespread acceptance of birth control has involved a major reorientation of sexual values. Gordon puts today's reproduction control controversies into historical perspective and shows how the campaign to legalize abortion is part of a 150-year-old struggle over reproductive rights. Gordon traces the campaign for legal reproduction control from the 1870s to the present.
  • Image: The Flipside of Feminism

    The Flipside of Feminism

    What Conservative Women Know--and Men Can't Say
    By Venker, Suzanne
    Venker and Schlafly provide a new view of women in America, one that runs counter to feminism. Their book demonstrates that conservative women are, in fact, the most liberated women in America and the folks to whom young people should be turning for advice.
  • Image: The Birth of the Pill

    The Birth of the Pill

    How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched A Revolution
    By Eig, Jonathan
    Eig chronicles the individuals most responsible for the development of Enovid, the first FDA-approved oral contraceptive, in the 1950s. He situates them among the changing cultural and legal attitudes toward sex, contraception, and the role of women in the home and society, arguing that, while the pill did not start the sexual revolution, it was a major aspect of it.
  • Image: How to Be Married

    How to Be Married

    What I Learned From Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (really Hard) Year of Marriage
    By Piazza, Jo
    With wisdom gleaned from her encounters as a travel editor, and written with hilarious insight into the human psyche, Piazza offers an honest portrait of a modern couple and creates a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times.
  • Image: Abortion


    Opposing Viewpoints
    Since abortion became legal, it has been one of the most persistently controversial issues in politics and culture. The opposing viewpoints in this anthology debate the ethics of abortion, and related issues.
  • Image: Night Sweats

    Night Sweats

    An Unexpected Pregnancy
    By Crossett, Laura
  • Image: Women Against Abortion

    Women Against Abortion

    Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century
    By Haugeberg, Karissa
  • Image: Woman Rebel

    Woman Rebel

    The Margaret Sanger Story
    By Bagge, Peter