CMU School of Drama

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Protest Theatre. Schenkkan pushes back on a Donald Trump promise with Building the Wall

DC Theatre Scene: It’s in the air – an urgency to use theatre to get people into the conversation about what many see as our national crisis: the Trump presidency. Now Forum Theatre gets into the act presenting a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Building the Wall.
I’m not sure it’s even a play. But I’m not sure that matters. The work and the conversations that it can ignite matter terribly.


Emily Lawrence said...

This article is like so many that I have read before, but it also felt very different while reading it. I am typically very against shows that choose to slap you across the face with its message, but this article made me want to see shows that do it. This article has made me want to give shows like this another try. My favorite quote from this article is “But this overt taking on of the ‘difficult conversation’ feels raw and necessary. I would one hundred percent agree with this statement had it not been so present in shows that I have seen recently. I feel like people are beginning to take political messages and just throw them into shows, even shows that have already been written, and make a huge statement about them. And while I find theatre to constantly contain messages, I get tired of hearing the same message over and over again. If there were not so many shows that had the same message, I would want to see this show when I go to D.C., but I am scared it is just going to be like everything else I have seen lately.

Lauren Miller said...

There seems to be a sudden spring of protest theater in response to the election of President Trump. And while I appreciate that these shows all bring up valid points, I cannot help but feel that we are only yelling into the echo chamber. Who will come to see this show? I doubt you will have more than a few trump supporters wander in my accident, and I don’t imagine they will stay very long. Like the lady in the restroom during Ragtime’s intermission who commented that “they are pushing the ‘black thing’ too hard”, the disagreeing audience will simply leave without absorbing the message because it conflicts with their views. A show that only yells its message at people who already believe it accomplishes nothing but making the artists and agreeing patrons feel good. I’m sure this play is phenomenal and I’d love to see it, but it needs to engage a wider audience. It needs to go out on the street and grab those it intends to change by the throats and drag them into the theater. Nothing changes when you stay in your bubble.