by Amanda Berg
An original performance by 12 local playwrights, (In)divisible is a unique, bipartisan commentary about the everyday person’s response to the November 2016 election. It will be at the studio theater of the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center until June 18th. Each playwright wrote two five-minute monologues or dialogues (one Liberal and one Conservative) as responses to various aspects of our current political climate, without ever mentioning a politician’s name. I decided to go with my fiancé, who is on the opposite side of the political spectrum as I, because I knew this would result in great discussions about the content of the plays.
The casual atmosphere was quite comfortable—only about 75 seats in the theater, no props, no sets, no costumes—only 16 actors in everyday clothes, a small, black theater, some lights, and two music stands for the readings. The theater is in a great location downtown—the only downside that if you have a vehicle, parking is not free anywhere in the vicinity.
Since tickets were free, we did not realize it was necessary to have a ticket via email, but we were still able to get into the performance. Though tickets are free, attendees are encouraged to give a donation to The Children’s Center, which is a mental health facility for the birth-to-five population, many of whom are refugees and survivors of trauma—a very worthy cause and an organization I’d be happy to donate to any day.
The quality of the performance was wonderful; the playwrights wrote the pieces with the actors in mind (e.g., a Jewish actress speaking about her experiences as a Jewish woman, a Filipino actress speaking about her experiences as a Filipino woman, etc.). Between the caliber of acting talent, wonderful directing (Jerry Rapier), and excellent writing by the playwrights, it seemed as though the actors were honestly recalling their personal experiences. Though they were reading the scripts, they showed genuine emotion and rarely looked down, which I was happy about with since I personally find looking down at the script constantly to be quite bothersome.
There were 24 stories altogether, though I found it amazing how a few of the playwrights were able to connect their two skits, so one could see two perspectives to the same story. This was not a series of rants about politics, but sincere recollections about personal experiences and interactions.
Some content was eye-opening and new; other content was not as much, but the overall experience was an oddly satisfying combination of heart-wrenching, painful, beautiful, and joyful. My own viewpoints were challenged and validated, and the cognitive dissonance had me thinking about society and politics for the rest of the night. It also resulted in conversations about the content during the entire drive home!
Fortunately, the goal of the performance was not to change one’s thinking, but open the viewer up to a wider variety of information. Because it was written by local playwrights, there were aspects of the show that were especially personal to people in our Utah community, which made the performance even more profound. That being said, the quantity of profanity was great enough for even me to feel slightly uncomfortable at times, so if you are sensitive to swearing, this may not be the show for you.
Matthew Ivan Bennett
Jennifer A. Kokai
Melissa Leilani Larson
Lily Hye Soo Dixon
(In)Divisible is a show for an open-minded audience, a closed-minded audience, really an anything-minded audience, and I would suggest anyone who is interested at all in politics go see it at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center before it ends on the 18th.
Free tickets are available through Evenbrite. Patrons are encouraged to contribute
to The Children’s Center while at the theatre.