Playwrights Call for Action on Immigration Crisis

Press, Theatre Action

Artwork by Josh MacPhee (LINK)

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.

More information about #TheatreActionImmigration and #TheatreActionVOTE can be found at www.ProtestPlays.org

#TheatreActionGunControl

#TheatreActionGunControl, Blog

The following playwrights are offering up their listed plays for readings in support of Gun Control. I will continue to add to this list as more playwrights contact us with their plays.  You can watch the list grow live on Twitter.  Protest Plays Project invites theatres and theatricians everywhere to organize readings in support of Gun Control/Gun Reform.  All plays available on the New Play Exchange.

PLAYWRIGHTS:  If you want to add your play to this list, Tweet your play’s title and NPX link at us using #TheatreActionGunControl @ProtestPlays

*In addition to the list below, Caridad Svich and NoPassport, Theater J and force/collision has a published collection of plays called 24 Gun Control Plays.*

Kara Lee Corthron TIME AND A HALF https://newplayexchange.org/plays/104917/time-and-half
Jennie MacDonald TEA TIME WITH HRH THE COWARDLY LION https://newplayexchange.org/plays/161545/tea-time-hrh-cowardly-lion
Rachael Carnes GRIEF https://newplayexchange.org/users/16553/rachael-carnes
Everett Robert UNANSWERED QUESTIONS https://newplayexchange.org/plays/80014/unanswered-questions
Everett Robert MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS https://newplayexchange.org/plays/80004/my-thoughts-and-prayers
Everett Robert GUN PLAY-AN AMERICAN FAIRYTALE https://newplayexchange.org/plays/33080/gun-play-american-fairytale
David Meyers BROKEN https://newplayexchange.org/plays/10833/broken
Jordi Casanovas PORT ARTHUR https://newplayexchange.org/plays/59997/port-arthur
Stephanie Walker FRIENDS WITH GUNS https://newplayexchange.org/plays/127688/friends-guns
Diana Burbano ROUNDS PER SECOND https://newplayexchange.org/plays/162221/rounds-second
Nelson Diaz-Marcano PAPER TOWELS https://newplayexchange.org/plays/144340/paper-towels
Lindsay Partain BACKFIRED https://newplayexchange.org/plays/136291/backfired
DC Cathro REASON FOR RETURN https://newplayexchange.org/plays/17629/reason-return
Ricardo Soltero-Brown GRIEF https://newplayexchange.org/plays/162188/grief
Darcy Parker Bruce HOW WE LIVE IN OUR BODIES NOW https://newplayexchange.org/plays/78036/how-we-live-our-bodies-now
Asher Wyndham PAYTON: A BACK-TO-SCHOOL MONOLOGUE https://newplayexchange.org/plays/162300/payton-back-school-monologue
Phillio Kaplan GOOD GUY WITH A GUN https://newplayexchange.org/plays/162339/good-guy-gun
Rachael Carnes SHELTER IN PLACE https://newplayexchange.org/plays/162327/shelter-place
Brandon Cahela DEPARTURE https://newplayexchange.org/plays/162364/departure
Tracey Conyer Lee RABBIT SUMMER https://newplayexchange.org/plays/121518/rabbit-summer

Heal the Divide: We Are Always/And Never, by Cody Daigle-Orians

Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is We Are Always/And Never, by Hartford, Connecticut playwright Cody Daigle-Orians.


So there’s this thing called a “brojob”: straight guys hooking up with other straight guys to “help each other out”… but they’re not gay! They’re still straight! it’s just bros helping bros, bro! And there’s a whole online world of married straight guys trolling for sex with femme men (usually they derogatorily call them “crossdressers”) — men they’d fuck, but men

they’d never acknowledge in the world.

So I wrote a little love story. All the Craigslist ads are real and unedited.


Download (PDF, 188KB)

Heal the Divide – To History:Two, by Jaisey Bates

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is To History: Two, by Jaisey Bates – an Indigenous-heritaged Planet Nine playwright currently residing (hopefully not for much longer) in La La Land.


TO HISTORY
/ To Whom It 
May Concern.

TWO: War
/ Games

This Letter
was inspired by
a FB friend’s
FB posts re:

a town
with a school
with a Native
mascot.

A town
with a chamber
of commerce whose
leadership set up

“The First Annual
Hunt for the Indian!”
treasure hunt

aiming to encourage
shoppers to Shop Local
during the holidays.

A town
where there was a
massacre of Natives.

A town
where the government
paid bounties for Native
captives, or scalps:

Man.
Woman.
Or child.

SPECIAL THANKS to Mr. Martin Neptune, Penobscot Elder, for his permission to share his eloquent and powerful words with all who read this play.

Learn more: www.ncai.org/proudtobe


Download (PDF, 236KB)

 

 

Heal the Divide: The Little Things, by Rachael Brogan Flanery

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is The Little Things , by Minneapolis, MN playwright Rachel Brogan Flanery.


 

This little play seems a little snarky. It is. Towards myself mostly. I am the guiltiest of all “woke” people for showing up one day in a pussy hat and back to my couch the next. I spend less time on CNN and more on Pinterest.

 

 

Download (PDF, 33KB)

Heal the Divide: Spotlight on Rachel Brogan Flanery

Heal The Divide, Playwrights

I’ve had the JOY of knowing Rachel Brogan Flanery for a decade now, and I am always delighted with her ability to take in the world, digest what she sees, and then create wacky and interesting stories out of it all.  She is a talented writer, passionate teacher, and hilarious mom (check out her writing on Medium)

Rachel and I met at UCLA, but she lives and teaches in Minneapolis, MN – a city that loves the arts and artists… a city with a lot to mine.  I look forward to reading Rachel’s plays, and I encourage you to read a little more about Rachel below!


What about our Heal the Divide project captured your interested/why did you decide to participate in this initiative?

Tiffany is one of the most organized and passionate people I know. Any project she is heading up-is a project I want to be a part of. Selfishly being given a deadline and purpose to write helps me find the time to do the work…and now more than ever we need a way to get our voices out there.

What areas of concern in your community do you find yourself curious about or interested in considering for this project?

I love where I live. Minneapolis is an awesome creative and diverse community with so many opportunities for culture and nature. However, the divide between the haves and have nots is so deeply intertwined with race. We have to do better. I know a lot of people in my little liberal haven that fight for justice and progress until it is inconvenient for them. Until too many of “those” kids start filling up “their” schools.. We have to call it out and we have to do the work.

There have been a lot of discussions lately about what artists can do to “make a difference” in light of our current political spectrum.  What do you think we can (or should) do?  Or are there pitfalls we need to avoid?

Anything we do as artists needs to be genuine. When it’s not, then it doesn’t work creatively and any social impact will be lost. I struggle with this. In my life I am a warrior for social justice and women’s rights. As an artist, I don’t often feel inspired to write political pieces.

What questions, as a playwright, are you most drawn to explore in your work?

Relationships and the mundane.

Are you engaged in any other organizations fighting for change or progress that you want to give a shout out to?

Keep fighting the good fight everyone!

More about Rachel:

Rachael Brogan Flanery is an actress and writer in the Twin Cities. She has her MFA in playwriting from UCLA and BA in theater from the University of Iowa. Her plays have been produced in Aspen, CO., Iowa City, IA., Los Angeles, CA., Minneapolis, MN., Prescott, AZ., and New York, NY. She is co-founder of Twin Cities’ theater company: Table Salt Productions and has performed in many of their shows since 2009. You can next see her work in January 2018 as part of Theater Unbound’s annual “Smackdown.” You can find her fiction and other written works at:

https://medium.com/@rachaelflanery

In her spare time she is a wife, mother, and teacher.

Heal the Divide: Conditional, by Michelle Tyrene Johnson

Heal The Divide, Playwrights

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is Conditional, by Kansas City, Missouri playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson.


 

I wanted to quickly illustrate the hypocrisy of how some make allyship dependent on how “nice” people are to them. But, you either support the right thing to do, or you don’t. Anything else is you trying to pass yourself off as more compassion and justice-minded than you actually are.

 

 


Download (PDF, 33KB)

Heal the Divide: Spotlight on Michelle Tyrene Johnson

Heal The Divide, Playwrights
One of the aims of the Heal the Divide project is to share plays from writers working/living in places you might not normally see put on stage.  Playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson hails from one such place: Kansas City, Missouri.
 
This has me super excited!
 
I’m also super excited because, HOLY COW, you need to read this playwright’s resume!  Michelle has a journalism and legal background and is a speaker at events around the nation.  The woman has things to say, words to share, and stories to tell.  I can’t wait to see what she writes for us during her three-month residency, and I bet you can’t either!  In the meantime, you can read our interview with Michelle (and her bio) below!

What about our Heal the Divide project captured your interested/why did you decide to participate in this initiative?
As a playwright, I’m always excited to see any theatre initiative that honors bringing people together and disrupting people’s resistance to being uncomfortable about topics that matter.
What areas of concern in your community do you find yourself curious about or interested in considering for this project?
I’m concerned about how the people who often think they have the least to learn, because they lean left, are the ones failing to have their listening ears on when it comes to bigotry, especially racism.
There have been a lot of discussions lately about what artists can do to “make a difference” in light of our current political spectrum.  What do you think we can (or should) do?  Or are there pitfalls we need to avoid? 
Artists need to be the people not afraid to start the difficult conversations in the plays we write and the theatre we create. We need to be relentless in pushing the envelopes, but we need to be willing to take the body blows when not everyone gets it. We need to listen to see what more there is to know or learn but stand strong in dealing with the people who just have different values.
What questions, as a playwright, are you most drawn to explore in your work?
Increasingly I find myself writing the stories that blend magical realism and history and piercing contemporary issues. As someone who loves the stories created by other people, as well as the challenges of telling my own, I like the element of surprise that takes me to familiar places.
More About Michelle:  Playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson is a former journalist and former attorney who is a diversity and inclusion consultant based in the Kansas City, Missouri area. As a playwright, Johnson has had plays in playwriting festivals locally and nationally, including in Houston, Texas, Medford, Connecticut and Louisville, Ky, as well as in several NYC festivals for her plays “Wiccans in the Hood,” “The Negro Whisperer,” “Trading Races: From Rodney King to Paula Deen” and “Echoes of Octavia.”
In 2014, the award-winning production “Trading Races” and “Wiccans in the Hood” were produced by Philadelphia’s BrainSpunk Theater, leading to BrainSpunk making Johnson their Playwright-in-Residence. Johnson’s “Echoes of Octavia,” which has been produced by KC Melting Pot Theater, will be in the 2017 season of NYC’s Rhymes Over Beats Theater Company. Her play “Rights of Passage” has been seen in Springfield, Mo., NYC’s UP Theater reading series and featured in the 2016 Kansas City Repertory Theater’s OriginKC New Works Festival. Most recently, Johnson’s play “Justice in the Embers,” co-produced with StoryWorks, KCPT, and The Living Room Theater, had successful productions in Kansas City and the Bay Area in 2016.
In 2017, Johnson was one of the featured playwrights in the Obie Award-Winning The Fire This Time Festival in NYC and had a reading of one of her full-length plays at The National Black Theatre: Institute for Action Arts in NYC in March. Johnson’s play “The Green Book Wine Club Train Trip” was selected as the winner of the OCTA (Olathe, KS.) New Works Playwrights Competition. In June, Johnson’s full-length play “Pass Over” had a staged reading as a winner in the Jewish Ensemble Theatre (Detroit, MI) Festival of New Works.

Heal the Divide: The Last of Our Kind, by Cody Daigle-Orians

Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is The Last of Our Kind, by Hartford, Connecticut playwright Cody Daigle-Orians.


Since the election, one of the things I’ve heard most often is, “I can’t believe this is where we are; I can’t believe this is what we are.” So I wanted to write something that responded to that disbelief and took it to its extreme conclusion. “Last of Our Kind” is a sort of social horror sci-fi story, which I thought was the right spirit for our political times. There’s not much more to say about the play, other than a wish that it always remains fiction.


Download (PDF, 150KB)

Heal the Divide: Spotlight on Cody Daigle-Orians

Heal The Divide, Playwrights
I first had the privilege of meeting  Cody at the Great Plains Theatre Conference a few years back.  I was immediately a fan!  Not only did his play grab me in a visceral way, but he was just a fun, compassionate, intelligent, and engaging human to be around.  He also has excellent taste in bow-ties, which immediately told me this was someone I had to say “Hello” to.  I am incredibly thankful that he has continued to let me say “Hello” over the years, as a friend and a peer, in this crazy theatrical world. 
When I reached out to Cody with yet another “Hello…” and an invitation to be a part of our 2nd Heal the Divide residency, he was immediately on board and I was immediately super excited.  I can’t wait to see what he shares with us over the next three months!  In the meantime, I encourage you to get to know a little more about Cody by reading our interview below.

What about our Heal the Divide project captured your interested/why did you decide to participate in this initiative?
These days, when you’re asked to do something that counters the mess we’re in, how can you say no? And I think the intersection of the arts, community and activism — which this project exemplifies — is one of the most reliable routes for making change. 

What areas of concern in your community do you find yourself curious about or interested in considering for this project?

I’m interested in how the queer community is dealing with other forms of oppression: how are queer folks dealing with racism? how are queer folks dealing with gender inequity? how are queer folks dealing with class? The community’s been, in the mainstream narrative, one issue for a long time — marriage equality — and now that marriage equality is a thing and we’re in the midst of an administration that’s attacking marginalized communities across the board, we’re figuring out how to be an engaged, political community all over again. 

There have been a lot of discussions lately about what artists can do to “make a difference” in light of our current political spectrum.  What do you think we can (or should) do?  Or are there pitfalls we need to avoid?
I think we keep doing what we’ve always done: create worlds and tell stories that help people explore what it means to be human, what it means to live in this world together. But we have to be conscious of what we bring to the table and what stories we choose to tell. It’s easy for us to empathize with stories of communities and lives that aren’t our own, and it’s natural for us to want to amplify those stories and communities. But they’re not our stories to tell. Representation and appropriation are big important questions right now: we have to be careful not to become part of the harm we’re writing against.


What questions, as a playwright, are you most drawn to explore in your work?
How do we decide who we will be during moments of great loss? That’s basically the central question of almost everything I’ve written, and right now it seems a more appropriate question than ever.
Are you engaged in any other organizations fighting for change or progress that you want to give a shout out to?

My day job is at The Westport Library in Westport, CT. I’m the program specialist there, and I think libraries deserve a special shout out for being institutions of learning, of curiosity, of intellectual engagement, of community, of change.

What did you take away from reading the plays from our first residency?  

I really liked this balance between the personal and the public that ran through these plays. It’s a wonderful by-product of the way this project is set up, and it’s a beautiful statement of how we need to be as citizens in the world. The personal is political. The political is political. And where those things bump into each other is where we live, work and attempt to get along together. These plays embody that. I dig that.

More About Cody: Cody Daigle-Orians is a Louisiana-born playwright and teaching artist now living in Hartford, CT. He is the program and events specialist at The Westport Library in Westport, Connecticut. He was the resident playwright for The Playhouse Tulsa’s 2013-2014 season, the company playwright for Acadiana Repertory Theatre and a company playwright for Manhattan Theatre Works. Plays for The Playhouse Tulsa: William and Judith, Tulsa! A Radio Christmas Spectacular, Little Women and The Bottom of the Sea. Plays for Acadiana Repertory Theatre: In the Bones, The Survivalists, and The Woman’s Part. Plays for Manhattan Theatre Works: Providence, A Home Across the Ocean. His work has been produced and/or developed at the Astoria Performing Arts Center, New Jersery Repertory Theatre, The Actors Company Theatre (NYC), The Growing Stage (Netcong, NJ), SNAP! Productions (Omaha, NE), Gadfly Theatre (Minneapolis, MN), StageRIGHT (Seattle, WA), Prologue Theatre Company (Chicago, IL) and the Great Plains Theatre Conference (Omaha, NE).