Review: “The Art of Protest” at Articulate Theatre Company

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  • Anthony J. Piccione, New York Critic

If there’s any one word that describes the political climate that has defined this past decade, it has to be “protest”. From economic injustice and climate change to gun violence and racial discrimination, to name just a few, there have been countless social and political issues that have created a great of unrest among the people, in large part thanks to the inability – or in many cases, unwillingness – of our so-called leaders to do anything about it. That’s exactly the type of narrative that is captured in the fundraising performance presented this past week by Articulate Theatre Company.

Featuring a long list of prominent actors and directors in the NYC indie theatre scene, the event consisted of ten short plays written by playwrights from all over the world. As the title suggests, “The Art of Protest” revolves around the theme of “protest”, although the extent to which this theme relates to each play varies. Furthermore, as with many short play events, the selection of plays varied in quality.

Some were completely forgettable, such as Robin Rice’s Before Yesterday and Jaisey Bates’s Eenie Meenie Miney NO, while plays such as Melting the ICE by J.B. Alexander showed great potential but either needed further development or were let down by the actors who presented them. Among the better plays were Scott C. Sickles’s dark comedy about protest in the social media age #Bastille, as well as Liv Matthews’s Hashtag Jones which dealt with issues of racism and police brutality. The strongest and most emotionally potent outing, however, was Thomas C. Dunn’s play Triggered, a provocative and heart-wrenching drama about two parents of gun violence victims who seek the ultimate form of revenge on politicians who block efforts at gun control that would reduce incidents like those that took the lives of their children.

While the overall result was a mixed selection of plays, it was nonetheless admirable of Articulate Theatre Company to both highlight the work of these playwrights, while also contributing to the ongoing dialogue surrounding our social and political environment, and how to better improve it. While their next production appears to be a project involving Dr. Frankenstein, I do hope they eventually return to producing works similar to this, in the future, as I would be most interested to see that.

           

THE ART OF PROTEST

“The Art of Protest” stars Sarah Babb, Darius Baker, Grant Bowen, David Palmer Brown, J. Dolan Brynes, Ayodele Campbell, Laurence Cantor, Valerie David, Arianna Ennis, William Franke, Brad Fryman, Michael Gnat, Kylie Kelder, David Lamberton, Sarah Okada, Denise Pence, Eric Percival, Tara Reuter, Mireya Rios, Briana Sakamoto, Joris Stuyck, Sharon Talbot & Brittney Venable.

“The Art of Protest” features plays by Robin Rice, J.B. Alexander, Elizabeth Gordon, Jaisey Bates, Scott C. Sickles, Bara Swain, Liv Matthews, Judd Lear Silverman, Thomas C. Dunn & Jeffrey Dunne; directed by Michael Hagins, Brock H. Hill, Tekla Gaughan, Katrin Hilbe, Janet Bentley, Brian Gillespie, Sheila Simmons, Catherine Vargas, Joan Kane & Cat Parker.

“The Art of Protest” – presented by Articulate Theatre Company – ended its run at TADA Theatre on April 6th.