Chatting with the Tea Party
a new play
Beyond politics, there are people.
A finalist for the 2014 Woodward-Newman New Play Prize, CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY, 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.
Over the last year, CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY has had over a dozen readings around the country, including New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Chattanooga, Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sarasota (FL), Sheboygan (WI), Fort Myers (FL), northern New Jersey, and the Telluride Playwrights Festival in Colorado. The readings have been attended both by liberals and members of Tea Party group, and responses 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"
Emily Mann, artistic director of the McCarter Theatre and the author of such documentary-style plays as EXECUTION OF JUSTICE, wrote, "I very much enjoyed reading CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY. It's a play that needs to be heard."
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."
CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY is now available for both readings and productions.