Politics in Theatre

Intelligence is the third in Arena Stage’s Power Plays initiative—a ten-year plan to commission twenty-five plays, one for each decade of American history, about power and politics. Deputy Artistic Director Seema Sueko told me that the initiative was the result of Artistic Director Molly Smith “having her ears, eyes, and heart open to the heartbeat of Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and listening to what that heartbeat was saying.”

Holly L. Derr

The history of political subjects in theatre is deep and rich, from the days of the Greeks, through Shakespeare, to recent Tony-winning plays like All The Way and Hamilton. What then will playwrights make of the period from Bush-era “truthiness” to the current “post-truth” era of American political drama?

Feminist scholar and director Holly L. Derr takes a look at the work commissioned by Arena Stage’s Power Plays initiative in this HowlRound article here


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