What do we do in the time of Trump? The theater community is trying to figure out the answer.
February 6, 2017
For Adam Immerwahr, artistic director of Washington’s Theater J, it was a no-brainer. As an offering in the company’s upcoming season, he’d been mulling “Sotto Voce,” a play by the Pulitzer-winning Nilo Cruz concerning the SS St. Louis, a German ocean liner filled with hundreds of Jewish refugees, that at the start of World War II was turned away by the United States and other nations. As a result, many of its passengers wound up back in Europe, and ultimately in concentration camps. Then the Trump administration announced its plan for a temporary ban on refugees and on people from seven majority-Muslim countries. And staging the play went in Immerwahr’s mind from intriguing to imperative. To read more, click here.
Four Theatres Sign on for Trump Play by Pulitzer Prize Winner
February 6, 2017
Building the Wall, a new play assembled by Tony and Pulitzer winner Robert Schenkkan in answer to the presidential campaign of President Donald J. Trump, has quickly been added to the coming season at four regional theatres around the U.S., with more likely to come. As previously reported by Playbill.com, the play will get its world premiere production March 18–21 at The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, which described the play thus: “It’s the very near future, and the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. Now, a writer interviews the supervisor of a private prison as he awaits sentencing for carrying out the federal policy that has escalated into the unimaginable. This riveting, harrowing and illuminating drama delivers a powerful warning and puts a human face on the inhuman, revealing how when personal accountability is denied, what seems inconceivable becomes inevitable.” To read more, click here.
On the real Hacksaw Ridge, a voice is heard: beware the fake glamour of war
February 5, 2017
Visitors to the ruins of Urasoe castle get no clues, as they stroll through lush tropical vegetation, gaze at a sparkling ocean a few hundred yards away, or stop to take in the tranquillity of a Buddhist shrine, that 75 years ago hell was unfolding where they stood. The ridge, now remade as a city park that forms a small oasis of green in a sprawl of encroaching suburbs, was at the heart of the brutal battle for Okinawa. It was also the site of one of the most extraordinary acts of heroism ever recorded by the US military. To read more, click here.
Exclusive: Interview with Oscar Nominated Hacksaw Ridge Producer David Permut
February 5, 2017
I caught up with producer David Permut at Sundance Film Festival on the day he learned of his Oscar nomination for Hacksaw Ridge (Best Picture, Actor, Directing, Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing). We discuss his 16-year journey to bring Hacksaw Ridge to the big screen during a bus ride at Sundance Film Festival. To read more, click here.
CURIOUS THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES TIMELY PLAY ON TRUMP POLITICS
February 2, 2017
Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan Opens April 4, 2017
Thursday, February 2, 2017. Denver, CO – Curious Theatre Company, a leader in social justice-based art, has just announced they are bringing a provocative and timely piece to Denver in the wake of the new Trump administration’s actions on immigration. The theatre company, whose mission is to engage the community important contemporary issues through provocative modern theatre, said they hope this piece fosters important dialog in our city and our country, and provides a forum to explore the frightening times in which we now live. Building the Wall will open on April 4 and run in repertory with their previously scheduled production of Constellations by Nick Payne. The newest play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle, All the Way) was written in a white-hot fury in the two weeks leading up to the Inauguration. Directed by Bruce Sevy, the play looks into a very near dystopian future when the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. A writer interviews the supervisor of a private prison as he awaits sentencing for carrying out the federal policy that has escalated to the unimaginable. Harkening George Orwell's 1984 and the Nazi regime, Building the Wall is a terrifying and gripping exploration of what America could soon become. The choice to program this play right now is a bold one and can only be defined as a protest piece. Curious’ Managing Director Katie Maltais notes, “We know this play will be a clear message. Curious is standing up for what we believe in – equality, inclusiveness, and respect. That also means we are standing against hate, divisiveness, and brutality. We see people protesting every day against executive actions and hate – this piece is Curious’ protest.” Shortly after the election, Maltais and Producing Artistic Director Chip Walton sent a letter to their patrons pledging to remain gutsy and promote nclusivity. Maltais commented that she feels this play as well as holding events like the pre-Inauguration Ghostlight Project is fulfilling that promise to Curious patrons and the community at large. Curious has long been a home for socially-engaged art and diverse programming; this production reflects their commitment to stand firm in their mission during this terrifying moment in American history. This programmatic choice is not only unique as a statement, but also in the timing. Normally, plays take months or years of rewrites and workshops before their premiere. Walton shared, “Moving forward, there is a clear and important need to adapt as a field to be more immediately responsive to the events occurring in our rapidly-changing world. This production also represents Curious' leadership role on the forefront of that change.” Working this show into an already packed season is a risk, but Walton knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “In the first couple of days that I had the script, my phone was blowing up with news alerts around executive actions and immigration and –of course – building the wall. I knew it was a rare opportunity to be able to program something so immediate and so relevant. The timing and logistics of opening it right away were a challenge to coordinate but the times do not permit us the ease of waiting. The theatre community must add its voice immediately with the urgency of what is happening in our country everyday, and we all felt that it was our civic responsibility to produce this piece immediately.” Of course, adding a show to a season also has budget implications. The company has started an Indiegogo campaign to help cover the costs of putting a sixth show into their 19th Season. Investor benefits include tickets to the show, dinner with the playwright and signed scripts. As with all productions at Curious, this roughly one-hour play will be followed up by a talkback after each performance. Following each performance of Building the Wall, the audience will hold discussion focused on “what now?” – how can this work serve as a catalyst for change and action in our community? Many of the talkbacks will include special guests from Denver’s activist, immigration rights, and social justice communities. Opening Night, April 4 at 6:30pm, will feature a talkback with playwright Robert Schenkkan as well as drinks and nosh. The roles of art and artists have historically been at the forefront of revolution and resistance around the world. Curious appears to be taking the lead in Denver to ensure those searching for a community unafraid to stand up against injustice can find a cultural home at 1080 Acoma Street. About the Play
BUILDING THE WALL by Robert Schenkkan. On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Over the next six months, events would unravel that test every American's strength of character: executive actions, an immigration round-up of unprecedented scale, and a declaration of martial law. Rick finds himself caught up as the frontman of the new administration's edicts and loses his humanity. In a play that harkens George Orwell's1984 and the Nazi regime, Building the Wall is a terrifying and gripping exploration of what happens if we let fear win.
About the Campaign. Curious has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise some of the funds necessary to put on this production. Information can be found at https://igg.me/at/curiousprotest.
• Tuesday, April 4 at 8pm
• Wednesday, April 5 at 6:30pm
• Saturday, April 8 at 2pm
• Sunday, April 9 at 6:30pm
• Monday, April 10 at 6:30pm
• Tuesday, April 11 at 6:30pm
• Wednesday, April 12 at 6:30pm
• Saturday, April 15 at 2pm
• Monday, April 17 at 6:30pm
• Tuesday, April 18 at 6:30pm
• Wednesday, April 19 at 6:30pm
Run time is approximately 1 hour and every show is followed by a 20-30 minute post-show discussion. All shows take place at Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma Street, Denver. Tickets for all shows (excluding Opening Night) start at $20. Opening Night tickets are $200 and include nosh and drinks along with an extended talkback with the playwright and artistic leadership. Tickets may be purchased on the Curious website at www.curioustheatre.org or by calling 303-623-0524.
THE GREAT SOCIETY A Stirring Tonic For Our Time
January 30, 2017
THE GREAT SOCIETY, Robert Schenkkan'sconclusion to the epic tale he began withAll The Way, examines the remainder of LBJ's term as president and the turbulent years of the Johnson White House. It made its debut in 2014 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is now receiving its Texas debut at Zach Theatre. This tempestuous time in American history is presented in a highly theatrical and stirring way that resonates deeply with our current times. To read more, click here.
SAG Awards: Bryan Cranston Wins Best Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for ‘All the Way’
Early this morning the Academy announced six Oscar nominations for HACKSAW RIDGE: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Sound Mix, Best Sound Editing, and Best Film Editing!
Zach Theatre grapples with LBJ play ‘The Great Society’
January 20, 2017
It is clear that no couple has made a greater impact on Central Texas over the long run than Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. From his role in taming in the Colorado River to his scores of national triumphs and tragedies — that reverberated back home — LBJ looms large in local memory. From her environmentalism to her wide-ranging philanthropy, Lady Bird also helped shape this city and its ways of thinking.
With that in mind, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, who grew up in LBJ’s long Austin shadow, wrote a two-part stage epic about the president. To read more, click here.
Fountain Theatre launches 2017-18 season for social action with world premiere of Robert Schenkkan’s new play, ‘Building the Wall’
January 20, 2017
The Fountain Theatre will open its 2017-18 season of new plays with an urgent warning against the proposed policies of the Trump administration, followed by statements on social justice, inclusion, acceptance of “the other,” prejudice, the role of government and the need for human connection. To read more, click here.