Playwrights And Activists Tell Us How Theater Can Help Shape A Resistance Movement


Seeing a good play moves you. It shifts something in your very chemistry. It alters you irrevocably. But also, when you go to a play, you change it. Because theater is different from almost any type of art we consume. A movie, a book, a painting — each can be interpreted in different ways. But they’re static. They don’t talk back, they don’t subtly shift and meld to your reactions.

Theater is a living, breathing art form in which real people are not just performing words on a page, but communing in an experience with the audience. The way actors move, speak, and feel is all affected by the viewer’s energy. Because going to a play is an act of participation. And watching really good theater — the kind that makes you think, dream, hurt, heal, laugh, cry — that’s a unique kind of catharsis for everyone involved.

We recently spoke with three young playwrights, all women of color, who are using theater to explore the themes and injustices they’ve faced. Their voices weren’t being heard, so they took back the public stage quite literally to raise up the stories of those around them. They’re using theater as an act of resistance. It’s powerful, urgent, and deeply important.