About Occupy Prescott
10 years ago this fall, activists gathered in lower Manhattan to peacefully occupy Zuccotti Park and to declare opposition to an economic system clearly inadequate for the majority of Americans, the 99%. Occupy Wall Street galvanized people around the world and inspired hundreds of activist occupations, big and small, united in a call to radically rethink the economic order.
Playwright Andy Boyd hones in on Prescott, Arizona to follow five Occupiers in their efforts to change their town and the world. They broadly agree that the one percent is too powerful, but agreement breaks down as they search for specifics. Reaching consensus on what a better world looks like—and how to get there—is frequently frustrating and rarely glamorous. Never easy, but urgently necessary. On the 10th anniversary of the rallying cry heard round the world, we are thrilled to produce the prescient and hopeful play: Occupy Prescott.
The Roles we’re looking to fill
Father Carlos. Man, thirties, Latino.
Father Carlos opens the play with, “How can it be that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world millions of children go to bed hungry?” As a Catholic priest, he carries the strength, comfort, and clarity he feels from his faith into every situation. He knows how to lead a group and also the importance of letting the group find its way without a leader.
He is an optimist and is inspired by people coming together. When recounting a summer he spent as an organizer with farm workers, he exclaims that, “...those meetings were amazing! I’d never seen anything like it! People would sing songs and put on skits, people who never would have dreamed of speaking in public would tell their stories and everyone would listen like it was the President speaking. They knew that solidarity was their only weapon against the growers.”
Dolores. Woman, thirties, Latina.
When asked why Dolores came to Occupy Prescott, after hearing grand politics from some of the others, she answers simply, “Debt.” Dolores is a single mother of two and struggling to keep her house, but optimistic that Occupy really can change things. She brings questions and an urgent energy to the movement. She wants to be helpful and also keep things moving.
At the play’s end, after all the frustration of five people trying to reach consensus and “solve income inequality,” she concludes that “The best parts of Occupy Prescott were when we were singing songs, telling stories, doing yoga, eating soup. I think if we spent, like, a year just doing those things, maybe after that we would have been ready to draft a statement. Or maybe not, I don’t know. Maybe democracy is impossible.”
Devin. Man, twenties, white.
Devin is a young, passionate anarchist punk. Thanks to his exhaustive reading, he thinks he knows what’s wrong with this country and how to fix it. Occupy is a chance to put that theory into practice and over the course of the play, he learns that knowing all the theory does not mean knowing all the answers.
Funny and eager, Devin wants to make a difference and make sure folks are serious about the radical change the Occupy movement is asking for: “I think one thing we have to rethink is the idea of representative democracy. You asked us how we could feel so alienated from our government if we’re a democracy. Well, maybe because we’re not a democracy!... Okay well honestly I’m not even sure if that’s the right word, because even in a democracy the majority gets to impose their will on the minority, which obviously I don’t agree with. Representative democracy will never really work because as soon as you let someone else speak for you you’re not really a democracy. That’s why I’m an anarchist.”
Rex. Man, forties, white.
Rex is a rancher; his land is his livelihood and his one great love in the world in the seven years since his wife passed. A government he sees as intrusive and stupid and a healthcare system he has experienced as needlessly cruel, both feel to him like impingements on his freedom. He is what was once called a “compassionate conservative,” a small-government libertarian unaccustomed to working in groups. He believes in neighbors having each other’s backs and loves sharing his home grown kale with new friends. He refuses to let people like him remain invisible within the 99%.
“There’s a lot of conservatives that aren’t in the one percent. And we’re suffering just like you. You think only liberals lost their houses in the financial crisis? You think you’re the only ones struggling to get by, who can’t afford healthcare or housing or college? Just because we don’t agree with your solutions doesn’t mean we don’t have your same problems."
Connie. Woman, sixties, Japanese American.
When Connie introduces herself to the group, she explains that... "I heard about acid and Mao and the Grateful Dead all in one day, ran away from home, and joined a commune." After recounting the disillusionment of the era she continues, "So I did what a lot of us did, us ex-hippies. Lit out for the territories, to the Berkshires or Taos or Austin or Prescott and hunkered down, tried to keep the fire burning until the next time America was ready to try out some new ideas. There's this line by Lawrence Ferlinghetti: 'I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder.' I have been waiting for forty years."
Of everyone in the group, she has the most experience working to change the world. She has seen toxic interpersonal dynamics destroy promising coalitions, but she has also experienced the joy of true community. She relentlessly presses her compatriots to think more radically (meaning from the root) about what is wrong with this country. She presses the group to mean it, to be actually revolutionary with the world they're envisioning and fighting for.
About the Production
Occupy Prescott will perform outdoors at Jalopy in Red Hook, Brooklyn. All performances will be matinees, with 3pm shows (additional 12pm shows possible), Saturdays and Sundays, October 16-31, 2021. In the event of a rained out performance, a 12pm show may be added on another show day.
Occupy Prescott is written by Andy Boyd, and co-directed by Paul Bedard and Katie Palmer of Theater in Asylum. Producing work is shared by Andy, Paul, and Katie, as well as Theater in Asylum’s managing director Kathryn Appleton and community engagement manager Hilarie Spangler.
About the Process
Occupy Prescott will rehearse September 15 - October 15, 2021 with a combination of online and in-person rehearsals. Online rehearsals (table work, etc) will utilize Zoom. In-person rehearsals will typically take place in Brooklyn either at Jalopy or at ART/NY’s South Oxford Space. We will do our absolute best to work around everyone’s schedule (day jobs, other commitments, etc) and anticipate rehearsals to be a variety of different times of day.
Theater in Asylum prizes community and seeks to create a safe and invigorating environment for all. We are looking for friendly, respectful, and caring folks to join our community. Occupy Prescott will have a fast process and our hope is to foster a strong team to present the most compelling possible work to our audience.
Unfortunately due to the size of our budget, we are not able to work with actors affiliated with Actors Equity.
Theater in Asylum believes in Equal Opportunity Collaboration. We are committed to diversity in all areas of our work, on and offstage. We encourage applicants with a unique cultural perspective inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, class, physical ability, and sexual orientation to apply.
All performers will receive a $300 honorarium. This position will be considered an independent contractor of Theater in Asylum.
Please note that all collaborators on Occupy Prescott, regardless of role, will be paid equally. We know that this honorarium is less than you (and we!) are worth. We understand that this is not a living wage and certainly limits things. We commit to do everything we can to respect and support folks to make the process as sustainable and rewarding as possible for all of us.
Theater in Asylum values transparency and always shares the complete show budget with signed-on collaborators. See our full Transparency commitments here.
About the Audition
Dates: Sunday, July 25, 2021. 10 minute slots from 1:30-5:30pm.
Location: South Oxford Space (138 S Oxford St, Brooklyn, NY 11217)
Theater in Asylum seeks to make this audition as easy and friendly as possible. When you arrive, you can expect someone to greet you and show you to a waiting area. Once it is your turn, you’ll be met by Andy (the playwright), Paul and Katie (the directors), as well as Cody (the stage manager). We will all be on our feet and eager to work with you. Please prepare a short contemporary monologue (1-2 minutes). If you’re cool with it, we would love to play with it a little bit after you present it. We anticipate each audition taking between five and ten minutes.
We anticipate calling small groups back on Thursday, July 29, 2021. Time slot length to be determined, booked between 2pm and 5pm at South Oxford Space (138 S Oxford St, Brooklyn, NY 11217).
Please send a headshot and resume to email@example.com. Please let us know for which role you are seeking to audition.
About Theater in Asylum
Theater in Asylum (TIA) is a New York-based theater company founded in 2010 to challenge and empower our community. TIA joyfully pursues rigorous research and an ensemble-driven approach to theater-making. We create performances to investigate our past, interpret our present, and imagine our future. We prize space to process, space to question—asylum—for ourselves and our community.
Core programs include original productions; themed cabarets, presenting new work from our community; and Cold Readings, a program to read and discuss published plays.
Community is of utmost importance to Theater in Asylum and some of our strategies for community safety and empowerment may be found here.
Theater in Asylum’s Community Agreements
Theater in Asylum strives to prevent harm in all of our spaces. We acknowledge that multiple systems of oppression intersect and permeate our lives (including racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and others). While we know that no space is ever 100% safe for all people, we hope to make our spaces safer with these Community Agreements. We ask everyone entering our space to, in good faith:
Theater in Asylum (TIA) is a New York-based theater company founded in 2010 to challenge and empower our community. TIA joyfully pursues a rigorous research and an ensemble-driven approach to theater-making. We create performances to investigate our past, interpret our present, and imagine our future. We prize space to process, space to question—asylum—for ourselves and our community.