The Pro Femina Theatre has come upon barren ground in "Fertility Rites," an original "theater piece" that explores the thoughts and feelings behind a woman's decision to have a child.

In the past, the company has shown lively imagination, ingenuity and style in using the stage to look at such issues as mother-daughter relationships and adult maturity.Unfortunately, "Fertility Rites" turns into a dull exposition with only a touch of the playful humor and satire that brightened earlier productions.

The free-form script, drawn from the personal experiences of the actress-playwrights, examines the decision to bear a child from the viewpoints of four different women. One (Leslie Bravman Jacobson) has delayed having a child while pursuing her career in the theater, only to find that she has a medical problem that may prevent pregnancy. Another (Nancy Castle) decides that she doesn't want to be a mother even though she has visions of being left alone in a nursing home in her old age.

Sarah Pleydell Walton decides motherhood is not necessarily a trap (after finding pregnancy isn't such a lark); she will rearrange her life and limit such things as trips to Africa. Cary Anne Spear is a fairy-tale princess who finds motherhood is her destiny.

The action is staged with only a few props, such as wooden boxes and scarves. The actresses shift into male roles quite effortlessly.

"Fertility Rites" continues Wednesday through Sunday at the New Playwrights' theater, 1742 Church St. NW, through March 29. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays. On April 2, the show moves to the Market Five Gallery, Seventh Street and North Carolina Avenue SE, until April 12.