Now that the Iowa Caucuses have kicked off the 2012 election year, some people may want to avoid politics on a night out. Not the folks at Box Wine Theatre, who created last year's Uptown: The Musical.
Starting Thursday, Box Wine presents Raucous Caucus II, their second annual 10-minute political play festival. The lineup features work from across the spectrum. Playwrights include Sam Graber, Greg Abbott, Heather Meyer, Sarah McPeck, Eric "Pogi" Sumangil, and Adam Sharp.
"We were very pleased with the variety of political views in this year's festival. Subject matter includes commentary on radical liberals and conservatives, racial and sexual identity, health care, and corporate personhood," says Sharp, the co-artistic director of Box Wine Theatre.
One of the keys was to find work that represented a spectrum of political beliefs, not just the usual left-leaning ideas that typify theater types. "When it came to deciding which plays to include, we based those decisions on quality, not political ideology. I personally enjoy reading submissions that run counter to my own beliefs," Sharp says. "We are pleased with the number of submitted plays that run counter to our beliefs, and hope to tap into that market even more in future political play festivals."
Once the scripts were selected, directors were chosen to bring each 10-minute work to the stage. At that point, the producers stepped back and let the artists find their individual vision for each work. The directors are Brian Balcom, Alexandra Gould, Jenna L. Kubly, Ben Layne, Scott Pakudaitis, Jenna Papke, and Cody Stewart.
The ultimate goal isn't preaching to the converted, or hammering people over the head with ideology. "Not only is this festival about challenging our audiences, but also ourselves," Sharp says. "We want our audiences to be entertained. Our goal isn't to change peoples' points of view, but rather to encourage others to take a more active part in our political system by engaging in constructive dialogue between opposing points of view. And vote!"
IF YOU GO:
Raucous Caucus II
7 p.m. Thursdays, plus 10 p.m. Saturdays starting Jan. 13 and 20 Through January 26
Bryant-Lake Bowl 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
For information, call 612.825.8949 or visit online.