As ICE parasitically invade peaceful American neighbourhoods and imprisons people in concentration camps, the country’s president spaffs racism from his twitter feed and white supremacists take to the streets. Life for immigrants in the US, documented or not, is terrifying right now and Tegan McLeod’s “deportational road trip”, certainly proves this. Though immigration control and the human face it takes on here is horrifying, McLeod’s script never quite settles on the narrative she wants to tell.
America’s gun epidemic is easy to criticise and ridicule from afar. But Americans, even those who oppose gun ownership, know that the firearms debate stems from deeply entrenched cultural mores and politics, and is also intertwined with class, regionalisms, race, money, and so on. In Sarah Kosar’s latest play, gun-obsessed Sam and her husband John are trying to quit their gun addictions when a local girl disappears, threatening their new, anti-weapon convictions. Cinematic lighting and sparse design heightens the nuanced script, and compelling performances support the story of one of many reasons why someone may want to own a gun.
After graduating from City College of New York in the 1960s, Assata Shakur joined the Black Panther Party. In 2014, after enrolling at Washington University in St Louis weeks after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer in the same city, Ambrosia starts going to Black Lives Matter rallies. Moved by injustice decades apart, the two Black women are subjected to systemic racism and violence in their pursuit of freedom. Apphia Campbell performs them both, embodying their passion and anger through storytelling and song, in this lightning-strike of a show.
In the programme notes, director Graham Watts states, “there are hundreds of astonishing plays written by women that have never seen the light of day…Let me be clear. These are not ‘lost works’. They’ve never been considered and were simply ignored.” This world premiere by the writer of Machinal proves his point. Though several of Sophie Treadwell’s 39 plays were produced on Broadway, this one from 1954 – one of her last, and demonstrative of her skill and experience – has never before been produced.
Butter, sugar, flour – these pie crust ingredients form a comforting motif that gets Jenna through each day. There are her solace every morning as she bakes her insecurities, worries and feelings into pies that are served in a small-town American diner. The young waitress is full of hopes and dreams but her story, like the script that contains it, has another ingredient so thoroughly embedded in the narrative that it leaves such a nasty aftertaste that it overpowers everything else.
Angel Cruz has shot a man in the ass. He says he didn’t kill the religious cult leader, who
had apparently brainwashed his best friend Joey, but this man is now dead. This is where
we start Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train. What follows is a compelling exploration of guilt,
goodness and godliness as Angel, incarcerated in New York’s infamous Rikers Island,
confronts his emphatic public defender, a sadistic prison guard and a charismatic, born-
again Christian serial killer.
The Salem witch trials of late 17th century America are infamous. In just a little over a year, more than 200 people were accused in the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut alone. Nineteen of those were found guilty and executed by hanging, but more died in jail or under torture. The death rate could have been higher still but we’ll never know, most court records were destroyed or lost. It remains the deadliest witch hunt in US history.
Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast of The War of Worlds caused widespread panic with its reports of an alien invasion in New Jersey. Or did it? Did the newspapers exaggerate the reaction to sell papers, the way websites now use clickbait for hits?
There’s so much humanity in the seedy underbellies of cities that’s easily sneered at by the white middle classes. Yet sex workers and drug dealers, corrupt cops and pterodactyls in Che Walker’s LA prevent the city from becoming a sterile, corporate hell occupied solely by the rich.
There are guns everywhere in America. Real ones, and pictures of them, hidden and overtly displayed. This constant threat of violence gives the unnamed uni lecturer and mum in this monologue nightmares and anxiety attacks. She awaits the day when a male student takes issue with his grades, or the course content, or anything else that threatens his masculinity and barges into her office or classroom and guns her down.