What if women were extinct?
What if men evolved to bear children — and invented “Feminism” as a religion, devoted to making the world hospitable for the second coming of the bygone sex? Such is the dystopian setting of writer-director Robert O’Hara’s ambitious but stalled new play Mankind, which opened off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons last night.
Though it’s more often men who are out of the picture, à la Wonder Woman’s Themyscira, single-sex societies are a familiar sci-fi trope. The question of men becoming pregnant is likewise well tread — Arnold Schwarzenegger tried it in Junior (1994), and scientists even say it could be possible IRL through uterine transplant. Though their combination here feels timely enough — with women having been “legislated out of existence” as O’Hara puts it in the program — Mankind doesn’t probe the consequences of its premise beyond these basic parameters.