Playwrights from across the country have come together in support of collaborative theatre action to address the inhumane treatment of immigrants at the US border. This theatre action, led by Protest Plays Project, has resulted in a collection of twenty-three plays, made available royalty-free to theatremakers wishing to help raise awareness and raise funds for non-profits working to reunite families at the border.
Although many separated families have been reunited under a court order, more than 500 cases remain unresolved. According to a New York Times article released last week, this includes twenty-two children under the age of five who have still not been reunited with their families.
“The fact that families have been ripped apart by the current administration’s zero tolerance policy is something we must all address,” explains Tiffany Antone, Protest Plays Project creator. “Theatre is a great place to dramatize contemporary issues, to ask questions of ourselves and our communities, and to invite positive action in response to crises.”
In addition to the family separation crises, plays in the collection address other recent changes to immigration policies that playwrights see as threats to asylum seekers and hopeful immigrants.
“There is a lot of fear-mongering and blatant xenophobia being put to work in furthering the administration’s agenda for the border wall,” said Antone. “Many of the plays in this collection invite audiences to examine their own humanity and what it means to be American in light of current policies.”
Theatremakers who wish to put these plays to work for fundraisers can create their own line-up from the collection, and all that is required is that theatremakers register their event with Protest Plays to secure permission for royalty-free readings from the playwrights.
“There are a lot of playwrights writing material in response to our current socio-political climate,” says Antone. “Ten-minute plays are a nice way to work responsively and quickly, and this collection represents a diverse collection of viewpoints which makes a presentation more appealing and effective.”
Contributing playwrights include: Diana Burbano, Ricardo Soltero-Brown, Jacqueline Castañeda, Asher Wyndham, Steve Koppman, Jaisey Bates, Rachael Carnes, Richard Soto, Bruce Costella, Tom Cavanaugh, Jason Tseng, Erica Bennett, Jen Huszcza, A. A. Gardner, Franky D. Gonzalez, Dwayne Yancey, Haydee Canovas, Randy Lee Gross, Jennifer Heale, Lindsay G Partain, Sharai Bohannon, and Jennifer A. Kokai.
In addition to their #TheatreActionImmigration initiative, Protest Plays has also issued a Get Out The Vote challenge, inviting theatremakers to present short, non-partisan and royalty-free “Vote!” plays before curtain at their theatres. The 1-3 minute plays serve as fun and motivational “commercials” designed to get audiences to register and vote in this November’s midterm elections. Protest Plays has organized additional #TheatreActions including a collaborative #TheatreActionGunControl event which resulted in over twenty-five readings and theatrical events across the nation last spring.