Company One Theatre’s new short plays address policy necessities
On Jan. 26, Company One Theatre debuted three new short plays and surrounding dialogues directed to the incoming presidential administration. “Remaking America: An Inaugural Message to the New Administration” highlights communities and issues that need crucial support and attention and provides actions for viewers to advocate for change in those areas.
“America is a hot mess right now for a bunch of reasons old and new,” says Company One Artistic Director and Co-founder Summer Williams. “Theater and storytelling, those are the devices of change. There’s a great opportunity for us to be wrestling with really relevant and important things and then engaging people to get active around those issues.”
The playwrights each explored a different issue. In Idris Goodwin’s piece, “The Miseducation of Lon and Drea,” two parents of color debate what a good education looks like for their son, particularly during a pandemic. Francisca Da Silveira’s “inside out” centers on two sisters struggling to stay alive in a health care system that’s not built for accessibility and productivity. Inda Craig-Galván probes the housing crisis in “Dwelling Codes,” wherein a couple about to welcome their first child fights for permanent housing. The plays feature actors Ireon Roach, Regine Vital, Mal Malme, Micah Rosegrant and Adrian Peguero.
At roughly 10 minutes each, the three plays pack a powerful punch. As is fundamental to Company One’s practice, audience members are provided with specific actions they can take to address each social issue. After months of advocating for voting rights prior to the election, the company has shifted its focus to addressing policy issues. “Now the work is about making sure our eyes are open to what’s happening, and that there’s accountability,” says Williams.
“Remaking America” features a brief discussion with the playwrights and pairs each artwork with representatives who are engaged in related activism. Carolyn Chou from the Asian American Resource Workshop discusses housing; wellness practitioner Marlene Boyette tackles health and leads a self-care driven intermission; and Millennial Rhode Island’s Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor interrogates education in America. These discussions take the emotional power of each play and harness it with background information and participatory actions.
“I think everyone is really worn down,” says Williams. “It’s hard to feel hopeful about envisioning a better future. My personal hope is that perhaps folks will feel inspired to get back up again.”
“Remaking America” is available for free viewing on the Company One website as well as on YouTube.