My good friend, Bonny Saulnier, is one of the people who is helping organize the Massachusetts Women's March on Washington on January 21st to affirm on the first day of the Donald Trump's presidency that we will never accept racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and environmental destruction. Each state is organizing for the Women's March, and people (not just those from Massachusetts) might want to connect with their own state organization to help out. She sent me the information guide, asking me to share it widely.
To cut right to the chase, you can click the image to get the Women's March on Washington Information Guide.
I initially thought that I'd post it to my Facebook page, but Facebook doesn't let you attached a big PDF like this. I thought about email and Twitter, but then, right about the same time I realized I could just use the same technology that I use to share news about Alley Cat Theater, Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton, a member of the cast read a statement during the curtain call, and President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter, basically saying that sort of thing has no place in the theater.
To use a delicious word from my childhood: Bushwah.
The theater--art in general--isn't just about entertainment, though at times it could be. The institution of the theater, though, is capable of so much more than entertainment. It is capable of nourishing and supporting a community the same way a church could. Theater nourishes the entire human spirit. It nourishes not just our need to be entertained and to laugh, which is so important but the theater shouldn't be limited to just that. Theater also addresses our need for the the spiritual and the political. It is a place to dream, and it is a place for catharsis. What happened the other night with Pence was very small potatoes; that space traditionally has always been as political as the town hall, as spiritual as a church, and as earthy as the local pub.
As a playwright, my characters all pretty much reside on the fringes of society. They constantly are looking for their place in society as individuals, battling the forces in our world that, I feel at least, beat down the humanity and try to strip them of their individuality. For that reason I've always considered myself a very American playwright--something that I've always been proud to feel. When I applied to Boston University for its playwriting program, I wrote in my letter of intent that, among other things, I wanted to continue the kind of work I did as a columnist for a newspaper, only do it in the Boston theater scene.
Theater isn't just about producing plays, and for that reason I have decided that Alley Cat Theater will do whatever it can, whether it be through the plays produced, blog posts like this one, or any other action I can take, to support the values of individuals whenever I feel they are being trampled.
Get the Women's March on Washington Information Guide >>
Some of us are canaries in coal mines. Playwrights all over Facebook are reeling from the recent election, wondering what they can do, and like most writers, the conclusion they come to is, write. It's what we writers have all done throughout our lives. When we were small, we learned to scribble our thoughts and ideas, the simple absorption of the ink from a Bic pen onto thick tablet paper made our words as permanent as if in stone. It's the writer's reaction to anything: Get it down on paper. If any good comes out of this next administration, I'm hoping at least we'll get a few new American plays out of it.
In February, 2012 I started a play about a couple of squatters in an old deserted loft, and about a year later those two morphed into characters in an urban terrorist cell. That play, now called The New American, is still in draft form (i.e. it's never been produced, much less picked up by any of the major development groups), but it came from my fear of what I clearly saw as our society slowly starting to break down. Now with the current political climate, I can see I was on to something. Just goes to show: Listen to your gut.
Right now I'm working on securing funding for Alley Cat Theater, this next grand experiment in theater, an experiment to see if theater, and I, can actually make a difference with plays like The New American.
In the meantime, here's an excerpt from The New American.
American No, How? : SLAK’s Speech
It’s called American know-how. You ask another country how to do something, and they say, no, how? Then we show them. That’s American know-how. I’m telling you, man: This country sorely lacks visionaries. Your everyday person would rather wallow in their own shit than actually use their own brain to think, man. They look to the government to save them. That’s why we elected you. I can’t believe people ever bought that shit. It’s like, I don’t know, like, leeches, man. Like doctors used to cover a sick person up with leeches and we’d go, yeah man, bring on the leeches. Now we’re like: leeches? It could’ve worked though. Maybe. It wasn’t that late. All they had to do was search the past. It would have worked. Read some history, man. All those factories, just sitting there. Empty. Doing nothing. Double-u Double-u Two, man. Americans turned all those factories into tank factories. Airplane factories. Whatever. Okay, so instead of building all that war shit they should have built transportation shit. Trains. Invested in the infrastructure, man. It would have turned this country around. Think of the jobs. All those factories would have been crawling with workers building all that shit trains need instead of those crap cars, burning oil and us going to war for the oil. Leaches, man. Aaargh. Makes me crazy. Anyway, you’d have designers designing the trains. People running the factories. Truck drivers hauling stuff around. People unloading the trucks. Construction workers. People laying track, building train stations, and then all the business that would spring up around a train station. We’d be like this whole little self-contained train world. What? We did it with washing machines. Why not trains? You’d have the return of the steel industry cause all those locomotives and train cars and rails are made out of steel. You already had the right-a-ways along the highways. Move the cars out of the way and here come the trains, man. It’s everything the government promised. Jobs. We would have been off oil, which was the major cause for war. It’s green, good for the environment, getting cars off the road. It’s an idea that’s got something for everyone including the crooks in Washington and Wall Street. It could have worked, man.
Alley Cat Theater
Alley Cat Theater produces new work that is intelligent, compelling, and thoughtful, telling stories by pushing the boundaries of the theater.