I <3 Revolution

I <3 Revolution

Author: Alexandra Panzer, Tara Schuster, Alice Winslow

Description: Three ladies overwhelmed by their early 20s, swept up in the zeal of the Arab Spring, and taken by the boho-chic ways of Occupy Wall Street recruit followers for their own brand of fresh-to-death revolution.
Year Written/Copyrighted: 2012
Date Added: 11/14/2012
Content Advisory: NA
Keywords: 9/11 · Characters are Mostly Young Adults · Civil Rights · Comedy · Literature and Writing · Meta · Mostly Female Characters · Politics · Protests · Satire/Parody · Sex · Single Set · Social Issues
This play is in the following collections: FringeNYC 2012
1 Act, 90 Minutes
3 Females, 1 Male, 1 Gender Neutral
Read an excerpt

NOTE: I <3 Revolution is fully protected by copyright law and is subject to royalty. All inquiries concerning production, publication, reprinting or use of this play in any form should be addressed to Rochelle at rd@indietheaternow.com.

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From the Author:

I <3 Revolution was originally written and performed at Brown University in 2008. Angered by a political process we didn’t understand (how was Bush elected twice?), confused by latent misogyny in our campus theater (why were all the plays written and directed by men?), and frustrated by feelings of inefficacy both personal and political – we felt helpless. We felt mad. We were scared to graduate.

In a spirit of revelry and anger, we had a “fuck it” moment and wrote down a list of everything we ever wanted to see or do onstage. This included: endless contracts to sign, goodie bags, the word “panties” (good or bad?), and three female leads who were funny but never had to trade on sex to get a laugh. The list morphed into a play fulfilling all our vendettas against the status quo. Our revolution was comedy.

The project has undergone multiple transformations since then; so has the political and economic landscape it speaks to. Political protest has been dusted off the shelves thanks to the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. And our own stakes have gotten higher: we’ve experienced joblessness and student debt, as well as being part of a giant corporate bureaucracy. If anything, this play speaks more than ever to our present moment.

This is a comedy about the impossibility of revolution and the glee in creation.

Welcome to the first public meeting of I <3 Revolution. It's very lucky for YOU that you have found US. Let us cast off the shackles of oppression and embrace the shackles of a new egalitarian hierarchy after the coup! NO PHYSICAL HARM IS EXPECTED!

Original Production Information

I <3 REVOLUTION was presented at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival at The Living Theatre with the following cast and credits:
Alice: Alice Winslow
Alexandra: Alexandra Panzer
Tara: Tara Schuster
Michael: Chris Lowell
Covert Operative: Jessie Rene Hopkins

Director: Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Stage Manager: Alex Lubensky
Producer: Jessica Kerry
Choreographer: Lauren Pollare
Sound Design: Jon Bernstein & Deepthi Welaratna
Set Design: Danielle Baskin
Lighting Design: Mike Inwood

ITN Review by Michael Mraz

In the "Dear Audience" note for I <3 Revolution, appearing in the 16th New York International Fringe Festival, the three co-writers exclaim, "What you are about to see is a staging of our anger and confusion, and our utter glee in the act of creation," and I immediately became worried. Shows voicing the writer's anger and confusion often become nothing more than an indulgent rant on a soapbox, masquerading as a play.

But over the next 75 minutes, the three ladies in I <3 Revolution did nothing of the sort. In fact, they made me laugh almost nonstop for that 75 minutes, with a clever script, an ingenious format, and sharp performances—all while sneakily touching on all of the issues that made them angry and confused.

I <3 Revolution is set up almost as a town-hall meeting / seminar run by its 3 performer/writers, Alexandra Panzer, Tara Schuster, and Alice Winslow. The entire show is direct address to the audience, demolishing "the 4th wall"—which is incredibly effective and comes off feeling very original. Quickly we find out that nothing is as it seems and these three women are taking the entire audience hostage until they explain and recruit us to join their revolution and subsequent new world order. With the help of their trusty but (purposely) underappreciated assistant, Michael, they tell us their goals, introduce the story of their deity, "Mother" (whose name is accompanied by an aggrandizing hand-gesture every time it's spoken, to much hilarity), ask us for money, attempt to mug us, do a spot-on generic commercial parody, and show a particularly hilarious "5 Steps to Prepare for the Revolution" instructional video.

The script manages to simultaneously feel all-over-the-map (in a zany, spontaneous, good way), while being very tightly performed and structured. Pirronne Yousefzadeh's direction deftly navigates the performers through their "planned" and "unplanned" moments. However, it's the chemistry and skill of the 3 leads that makes the show exceptional. Each brings such a distinct comic energy and style. Panzer is the flighty one; late to the meeting because "it felt like a Thursday," eager to please but often picked on by the others. Schuster is the unstable, feisty fireplug; often threatening the audience. Winslow is the even-keeled, organized one; ordering the audience around, but always with a smile, assuring us they she really does like us. Each plays her different style expertly, but they are constantly in perfect sync with one another.

The true achievement, however, is that through all of this chaos and hilarity, they hit on their true agenda; and they do it almost subliminally. The most obvious is Michael, their "assistant." He's an actor who has just moved to NY and this is his first job. They point out that he's there doing the only thing he's good at: doing their bidding and looking cute in shorts. They constantly marginalize him, never allowing him to get a word or opinion in; he's basically a piece of meat. It's absolutely hilarious throughout, yet it points to the gender issues that have plagued women for years (it should also be mentioned that Chris Lowell plays the wearied, constantly-battered Michael brilliantly). They throw in little pieces of injustice: a female student being called a slut by a congressman—and because it is literally a throwaway line, it ends up being all the more affecting.

Their biggest gripe, referring back to their Dear Audience note, is that they were angered that a large majority of theater is written and directed by men (usually for men), but I <3 Revolution is a testament to moving away from that. They achieve their goal. They are sharp, hilarious writers and performers who never once have to resort to exploiting their sexuality for a laugh. Their concept and execution are clever and original. They say important things without sounding preachy, veiling them in high-level comedy. Though, a final word of warning: Just don't call them cute…unless you mean it.

reviewed at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival

ITN Podcasts about I <3 Revolution

FringeNYC 2012 Collection - Part 3: Roundtable with Sam Byron ("Animals"), Alexandra Panzer ("I Heart Revolution"), Pamela Sabaugh ("Immaculate Degeneration"), and Armando Merlo ("Salamander Strikes Back").

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