THE AMERICAN DREAM
As a professional theater company, MACo has a unique platform to tell stories that respond to current realities. And as theatre makers living in a predominately white state in a country shaped by racist systems, we feel called to create space where by listening and speaking with open hearts we can, “hold a mirror up to nature” and in so doing explore the consequences of our collective actions and hear voices that have been too easily ignored.
Together with Town Hall Theater and Vermont Stage, we embark upon The American Dream Project. Because of Covid-19, we are launching this play reading group online, with the hope that we can create a community of people interested in reading and discussing some seminal, relevant plays that directly pertain to issues of racial and economic inequities in our country.
On Sunday's mid-month, at 4:00 pm, for 6 months beginning
Sunday November 15 we will come together on Zoom to discuss a different play which participants will read prior to the gathering.
A moderator will facilitate the conversation and local MACo actors and guest artists will read aloud selected scenes from each play. Moderators will offer (in advance) ideas and or questions to think about while reading each play.
The fee for participation in the entire 6 play series is $20. Participants should obtain copies of the six scripts for themselves (if ordering on your own online it is crucial to purchase WELL IN ADVANCE), some may be borrowed from libraries
OR through our partnership with The Vermont Book shop participants can purchase all six plays for$67.04(a 20% discount).
Subscriptions to the series can be purchased through the Town Hall Theater Box Office: 802-382-9222 or at:
https://townhalltheater.org/event/the-american-dream-project/ The code to purchase books through VT book shop online, via phone or in person is THTAD
Sunday November 15: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson
Moderator: Francois Clemmons
Inspired by the real-life Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, This visceral American classic serves as the 1920s chapter of August Wilson's epic American Century Cycle. What begins as a routine recording session becomes more strained as tensions rise between the members of a blues band and the owners of the recording studio. The white producers mean to exploit the talents of the band—especially the gifted and impulsive Levee—but when Ma insists on having things her way, tensions are enflamed and the play builds to an unexpected climax.
Sunday December 13: Spinning Into Butter by Rebecca Gilman
Moderator: Rebecca Strum
A crisis erupts at a small Vermont college when racist notes are posted on the dorm room door of one of the school's few African-American students. Sarah Daniels, the newly-hired dean of students, races to defuse the whirlwind of emotions spun up by students and faculty, but before the play reaches its surprise ending, she and the other whites on campus must first confront their own conflicted feelings about race.
Sunday January 17: Sweat by Lynn Nottage
Moderator: Margo Whitcomb
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the play, based on the playwright’s interviews with residents of Reading, Pennsylvania tells the story of a group of close friends struggling to stay connected when their factory is at risk of collapse. When backed up against the wall and left with neither income nor hope, people sink into racism almost by reflex. The ramifications of humanity's anger hangs over the play, yet Nottage hints at the power of forgiveness and redemption.
Sunday February 14: The Royale by Marco Ramirez
Moderator: Nicolas Caycedo
Charismatic African-American boxer Jay “The Sport” Jackson has a burning desire to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Jackson’s fight begins long before the match, though; it takes careful negotiations to convince the white reigning titleholder to even recognize him as a worthy opponent and enter the ring.
The play is about the life of the outsider in American culture. Set in 1905, deep in the midst of Jim Crow, it explores one man’s struggle while reflecting a much broader one. It is also a play about a brother and sister who protect each other but don’t agree on what that means.
Sunday March 14: Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks
Moderator: Ro Boddie
Two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, locked in a battle of wits as quick as their game of Three Card Monte, struggle to come to terms with their identity and what history has handed them, even their names. With her trademark explosive language in this powerful 2002 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Suzan Lori-Parks explores the deepest of connections, and what it means to be a family of man.
The play was the number-one choice in last year’s New York Times list of “The 25 Best American Plays Since Angels in America.”
Sunday April 11: The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess
Moderator: Bill Hart
Zoe, a black student at a liberal arts college, is called into her white professor’s office to discuss her paper about slavery’s effect on the American Revolution. What begins as a polite clash in perspectives explodes into an urgent debate about race, history, and power.