The idea for the festival, which first started in 2010, was to look at the social side of politics. "Politics are a part of people's every day lives," says Bethany Simmons, co-founder of the company. "We like to take things like social media and everyday media and see what people think about them."
This year's Raucous Caucus takes on issues such as school shootings, censorship, rape culture, the NSA, unemployment, and the advertising industry. For the most part, the short plays take a humorous or satirical approach, often looking at issues in new ways at different angles. Simmons says seven of the eight pieces are comedic, but there's one serious piece as well. One of the works takes on the issue of rape culture, drawing from the way the media talks about women's rights and also women's health. "That was something we wanted to talk about," Simmons says. "It can be a little bit of a challenge to take something heavy and make it something that can inspire and bring a message to the audience."
Box Wine came together in 2008 with Simmons and Adam Sharp. Since its beginning, the group has run things on a fairly small scale. Without a lot of money for big spectacle-type shows, the company instead relies on innovation and creativity. "What we aim to do is produce shows that are stylistically or thematically different than other things being done," Simmons says.
The eight 10-minute plays include premiers by Sam Graber, Sara Israel, Phillip Andrew Bennet Low, Heather Meyer, Adam Sharp, Katherine Sherman, Brendon Taitt, and Harris Vitaliani. Directors include Mel Day, Kevin T. Houle, Anna Lewein, Scott Pakudaitis, Lucas Skjaret, Bethany Simmons, and Cody Stewart.
IF YOU GO:
Raucous Caucus IV
7 p.m. Thursdays, January 2-23 and Wednesdays, January 9-16
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater