Bad Citizen

Citizenship in divided society explored in articles, showcase of new plays
Northwest Theatre Workshop, Theatre Vertigo team to present Bad Citizen project
Bad Citizen, a new collaboration of Northwest Theatre Workshop and Theatre Vertigo, confronts the challenges of being a citizen in a divided society. The companies will present eight new short plays in May inspired by the subject, and, as a prologue, they are publishing an interconnected article series with the provocative title, “Can Democracy Survive Without Theater?” The series features personal essays on theatrical experiences and their capacity to transform perspectives and create constructive dialogue. “We hope to demonstrate theater is the place that can ignite democratic discourse and deepen connections to others,” says Ciji Guerin, NWTW Producing Artistic Director. NWTW and Theatre Vertigo combine years of experience developing and presenting new work dealing with challenging subjects, she adds. “We bring complementary skills, a compatible outlook, and a joint belief in the power and responsibilities of theater to address the difficult issues of our day.” Director Tamara Carroll, with teaching and directing accolades across Portland, has agreed to helm the ensemble of Vertigo actors for the project. The showcase will conclude with a panel-led audience discussion about what citizenship means today and how these plays might help people to find common ground and bridge divides. Bad Citizen will marshal the forces of both NWTW and Theatre Vertigo to enlist the power of theater in dealing with important issues that reflect our world and time, Guerin says. “Oregon has a vibrant corps of writers, actors, directors, and producers and a growing cohort of theater lovers who are passionate about new work. This project will serve them all, at the same time it serves our mission to empower live theater as an active and timely cultural force.”