Chatting with the Tea Party
a new play
Beyond politics, there are people.
My latest play, CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY, may seem like a departure from most of my work, but it actually blends my playwriting skills with my early experience as a journalist.
CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY is a documentary-style play based on over 63 hours of interviews I conducted with leaders of local Tea Party groups around the country, plus notes I made at Tea Party meetings and events in cities large and small. The play explores the question, "Who are these people?"
Nothing the interviewees say in the play is made up.
The play is designed to be performed on a simple set by a cast of four or more (3 m., 1 w.), with one actor playing a liberal playwright who decides to enter a political world unknown to him... and the rest of the cast playing multiple roles, including Tea Party leaders, conservative speakers, politicians, liberal friends, historical figures, and one Shakespearean actor with a bullhorn.
As I fine-tune the play, CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY has embarked on a series of readings around the country, including (so far) New York, New Jersey, Florida and Colorado. Responses to the play at readings have included:
"amazing and incredibly interesting"
"engaging along the way and thought-provoking afterwards"
"a very human message and a great universality"
"fun, funny and interesting"
"intimate and revealing, peppered with levity"
"eminently fair and even-handed"
Chip Decker, artistic director of Actors Theatre of Charlotte, wrote, "What I initially thought was going to be a slander piece, a make-fun-at-any-cost sort of play, really surprised me. I feel the balance and truth you brought to the show was wonderful and made for a very interesting, funny and compelling show."