Art is more than imitating life – as the expression goes – it facilities; it communicates, it combats it. Articulate Theatre Company explores the role of the artist’s role in activism with the Art of Protest.
ArtsIndependent joins all the sites of Five Star Arts Journals in sharing the thoughts of the soldiers of Articulate Theatre as they declare war…
Articulating The Arts: The Art of Protest: April 3 – 6 (April 3 – 5 @ 8pm; April 6 @ 7pm) at TADA Theatre 15 W. 28th St, NYC, 2nd Floor. Tkts: http://www.articulatetheatre.com/ata-5-the-art-of-protest.html
Articulate will team playwrights with visual artists to create a signature benefit event examining other art forms through the lens of theatre. It brings together the ATC ensemble and guest artists with unique works of art to use as a springboard and source of inspiration for new theatre works.
Participating Directors: Janet Bentley, Tekla Gaughan, Michael Hagins, Katrin Hilbe, Brock Hill, Joan Kane, Brian Gillespie, Cat Parker, and Catherine Vargas
We asked the entire company one question:
Why are you doing this?
Katrin Hilbe – Director (Eenie Meenie Miney NO)
I’m doing this project, because in this political climate, with the electoral race starting up, there is no standing on the sidelines. Art created to feed social movement – what more inspiration do we artists need to get out of our comfort zone? Let’s actively carry the torch now!
Michael Hagins – Director (Before Yesterday Was Better)
The current political system is as corrupt and evil as it has ever been, and as artists, I believe that we are the most outspoken and courageous members of society to speak out against a tyrannous and destructive government. This country is plagued with not only gun problems but people of color, women, non-Christians and the LGBTQIA community are being oppressed and threatened every day. While I get to direct Robin Rice’s subtle yet powerful piece called Before Yesterday Was Better, I get to deal with gun control, an issue that I feel very strongly about, and Robin’s play deals with not only the possible consequences of being part of such a tragedy, but even the situations of even possessing a firearm. I should say, though, that I had a chance to read and experience all of the plays in the beginning stages of the production, and each and every play deals with hot button issues that will leave every audience member something to think about. The Art of Protest plays are truly nights where artists can come together and know that their voice, whether it be loud or soft, will be heard and understood.
Cat Parker – Artistic Director of Articulate Theatre Company/ Director (This is Bull)
Why Am I Doing this Project?
In January of 2013, I gathered together 40 friends and colleagues and asked them a question: Does NYC really need another theatre company? We all agreed that, indeed, NYC did NOT need another theatre company. Then I asked them if we should start one anyway. Again, the response was unanimous: Of COURSE we should!
I’m doing this project for those people.
Articulating the Arts started off as a way to give a large portion of our 50 member ensemble the chance to strut their stuff, and try new things – act in a role they normally would never audition for, step out from behind the curtain and try acting instead of stage managing, etc. But it quickly turned into a crowd pleaser so we ramped up the production values, and reached out to guest playwrights, directors and actors.
But we haven’t forgotten the learning element to this gig. We use Articulating the Arts as a way to learn more about other art forms. When we used classic paintings as inspiration, we read about the paintings and the artists, when we used folk music, we had a panel discussion about the history of folk music in New York City, and when we used children’s folklore, we brought in playwrights and producers to discuss the value of storytelling.
This production will be our 5th Articulating the Arts, and, given the state of the world, it was a no-brainer to discuss the artist’s role in affecting change, thus was born “The Art of Protest.” Many of us have signed petitions, gone to protests, created provocative memes online. But it was the visuals of those signs at the protests that caught my attention. Some were planned and elegantly created, some were scrawled on the floor of someone’s studio apartment 10 minutes before they ran out the door, a literal sign of hope in their hands.
I’m doing this project for those people, too.
Articulating the Arts: The Art of Protest is also a benefit production. It will help us to do our Fall production. The indie theatre community is really starting to come into its own in terms of production levels and their value in the NYC community at large. The playwrights, the directors, the actors, the designers – we’re not doing “Billy and Suzy make a play in the garage” theatre. These artists are professionals, passionate and talented. Articulating the Arts helps to give them a platform upon which to shine, and from which to share stories that will make a difference in our world. Personally, nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing change happen on a script page, in a rehearsal hall, in the sharing between the stage and the audience, and in the conversations about the issues as people leave the theatre.
So, I’m doing this project for all the people involved, and all the people who attend. And I’m doing it for me, too.