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Christopher Diercksen

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An Important Play for This Time

Posted: 09/21/2012 10:46 am

America is going through a tough time right now. Amidst a declining economy, the 99% and the 49%, the war against women/obesity/sugar/tobacco/terror/drugs there exists a generation of young people who, after jumping through every developmental hoop presented to them, are surprised to find themselves struggling. Really smart (a college degree means you're smart?) people are asking "why can't I support myself by doing what I love or at least what I studied in college for which I'm still in debt." In situations such as these our initial reaction is to channel David after the dentist and ask, "Why... why is this happening to me"; to which there is no concrete answer... well, there are lots of concrete answers but it depends on who's paying the person you're asking. Since every answer to the "why" seems to include a different person "who" is responsible and "how" some other "who" is going to fix it, none of the answers even pretend to be cohesive. Our elders are just as confused as we are except they're freaking out after watching most of their life-savings melt away. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a hard thing to define. Whether it's the NHL locking out its players for the upcoming hockey season over rights to shared revenue or it's a group of Libyans attacking the American Embassy over their right to not have their religion marginalized by a film, everyone is concerned with defining their entitlements. The world is overwhelming, confusing and at times, terrifying.

What I'm getting at is this: the American Dream as it had been defined for us "Generation Irony" people is suddenly a lot more difficult to achieve and the middle class, once the backbone of America, is becoming obsolete. Here and now as a maker of theater in New York City, this is how I define my audience.

This brings me to why Lunar Energy's production, By Rights We Should Be Giants is an important play for this time. In my view as director and dramaturg it speaks to the attempt to make sense of our circumstances; to understand every snag and bramble enough to see the forest through the trees. Loosely based on Anton Chekhov's classic play Three Sisters our story is set in Lorain Ohio, 2007 (for more insight on the play and writing process I direct you to blog posts by co-writers Nadia Sepsenwol here and Tim Van Dyck here). It explores many of the themes you'd expect to find in a play about Americans today: love, sex, money, PTSD, alcoholism, and entitlement. It's a play because what we're trying to say is really hard to express in words and we need the help of an audience to do it. It's got to be a shared experience or else it will just be another blog post, article, or after-school special. We need to perform this play for you and you need to see it because if we don't do it together then I don't see any other way of getting ourselves out of this mess. We're doing this now for you because no matter who is to blame it is up to us to fix our problems.

This blog was written in association with Lunar Energy Productions' "By Rights We Should Be Giants," a new adaptation of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" by Nadia Sepsenwol and Tim Van Dyck.Performances at the Secret Theatre, Long Island City, New York City, Oct.17 - Nov.3, 2012. For more info: www.lunarenergyproductions.com

 
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