Last December, Mark Plesent of the Working Theater contacted me to see if I was available to write a short play about organized labor for high school students as part of a partnership with the United Federation of Teachers. I was! Over the past three months, I have been working on a 20 minute play about how the labor movement effects our current economy. The process has been both nostalgic as I recalled when I first joined the Actors Equity Association, the first of three professional unions that I have joined in my career, and educational as I researched the labor movement in America and some of the current obstacles to unionization. My play, “A Labor Story,” uses the structure of Dickens’ classic “Christmas Carol” to share the history, current state of, and possible future of organized labor in the US.
This week the cast and director, Kel Haney, rehearsed the play in order to present the piece to 500 high school students at the Unionized Career Fair. And today is the day of the show!
Though I am in Cleveland for “Tiny Houses,” I’ve been continuing to tweak the play through Skype rehearsals and conferences with Kel. I’m really excited to share this piece with the students since it is my first play for a younger audience. I hope that the play will have some impact on how they think of themselves in the context of a larger movement. I am so grateful for this opportunity to write for teenagers, the most honest audience a playwright can ever write for!