Dramatic social commentary
By Elizabeth Werbe
A special screening of “State of Emergency,” a new documentary play inspired by Michigan’s controversial Emergency Manager Law, will be “live streamed” 7 p.m. Saturday, February 23 in Rackham’s 4th floor amphitheater. The performance will take place in Flint. Viewers can tweet questions and comments for the post-show dialogue. The screening is free and open to the public
This is the first production presented by Shop Floor Theatre Company, founded by Kendrick Jones and former Arts of Citizenship fellow Andrew Morton. The verbatim theater-style production draws its script from found material and interviews with public officials and residents of the City of Flint, where an emergency manager was appointed in 2011.
“The aim of the project is to encourage the community to engage in a larger dialogue about the various issues that led to the appointment of an Emergency Manager and explore multiple perspectives on this controversial issue,” said Morton.
The event is organized by Arts of Citizenship and the U-M Detroit School of Urban Studies with co-sponsorship from the Urban and Regional Planning Program, Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the Ford School, and the Residential College.
Since last fall, members of Shop Floor Theatre Company have been conducting interviews and collecting material to create “State of Emergency.” The company’s aim is to create original and transformative theatre with and for people of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds. The intended impact, said Morton, is to present diverse voices and opinions, and encourage civic dialogue and political awareness.
Performances will take place through March at the following locations:
- Friday February 22 – 1:30pm, Beecher High School Randall Coates Auditorium (1020 W. Coldwater Road Flint, MI 48505)
- Saturday February 23 – 7:00pm, UM-Flint Theatre* (303 East Kearsley Street, Flint MI, 48502)
- Saturday March 2 – 7:00pm & Sunday March 3 – 3:00pm, Flint Community Players (2462 South Ballenger Highway, Flint Township, MI 48507)
- Friday March 8 – 7:00pm & Saturday March 9 – 7:00pm, The Masonic Temple, (755 South Saginaw Street, Flint, MI 48502)
Elizabeth Werbe is associate director of Arts of Citizenship at the University of Michigan.