Matt Steiner and Stan Richardson of “Private Manning Goes to Washington”

The Representatives present Private Manning Goes to WashingtonInformation is power. But information often comes with a price tag.

What do you do if you believe at your core that information must be made available to all who seek it?

And how do you mitigate the possible effects of opening up information, when it has the potential to cause harm—perhaps to a loved one, perhaps to the state? Maybe, through your efforts at sunlight, you could make the world a better place, but at what cost?

And, just what can theatre do about all of this?

These questions, and more, are at the heart of The RepresentativesPrivate Manning Goes to Washington, a play that opens with internet and political activist Aaron Swartz and a childhood friend, and eventually explores a secret meeting between whistle-blower Chelsea Manning and President Barack Obama on the last day of Obama’s presidency…

Listen in as the collaborators who form The Representatives, Stan Richardson and Matt Steiner (both co-direct, Richardson wrote the script, and Steiner plays Swartz), discuss the radical intimacy of producing in apartments, imagining how one activist could try to help another activist while actively under investigation, the benefits of getting the artists and audience in closer proximity, throwing post-show parties, and why we don’t need more martyrs: we need everyone.

“We have a strong sense of occasion. It’s enormously meaningful for a group of people to get together and sit and watch something. An so often in traditional theatre, there’s obviously a separation between the artist and the audience that becomes almost hierarchical…”

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Nolan Kennedy, playwright/actor, and Welland H. Scripps, actor, of “Bully Me Down”

Letter of Marque Theater Company presents Bully Me DownYo ho ho, and a bottle of rum…

…and a whistleblower, a high-school anti-bullying activist, an assassin, a Scottish sea captain, a U.S. president, Barbara Walters…

All these characters (and more) collide in various bars across the borough of Brooklyn as part of Letter of Marque Theater Company‘s traveling play Bully Me Down, written by Nolan Kennedy and performed by Welland H. Scripps, Jason Tottenham, Scarlet Rivera, and Kennedy himself.

Listen in as Nolan, Welland and I hang out on the street-corner outside Hank’s Saloon after a performance to discuss putting theatre in a bar, a play as your company’s “self-titled album,” bullying, and shooting for the stars.

“We kind of wanted to do a ‘self-titled-album’ kind of show, so it’s trying on these piratical, privateer stories and ideas, and it also is dealing with what’s happening around us…this idea of what’s private and what’s not private…”

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