Photo: C. Stanley Photography

Power Plays at Arena Stage

Last November, Arena Stage announced the launch of its Power Plays, a series of 25 new plays and musicals from 25 writers produced over the next 10 years. Each play will tackle the subjects of politics and power, from tales of American presidents to equal voting rights. And as far as representing political parties, these plays will not fall along party lines.

“[The plays] will challenge all of us, and I am eager to provoke these discussions,” says Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith.

Smith hopes that audiences will learn and understand more about the impact of politics and power over the decades to “make us more informed as a democracy, and shed light on how we can come together as a nation to face personal and political adversaries.” She says there’s no other place in the country where these plays could have such an impact, and no better time to launch this massive commissioning cycle than right now.

The initiative’s third production, Jacqueline Lawton’s political thriller Intelligence, is based loosely on Valerie Plame and runs through April 9. Arena’s previous Power Plays include John Strand’s The Originalist and Lawrence Wright’s Camp David. The fourth installment, the world premiere of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty, is slated for next January and centers on the Cherokee Nation under Andrew Jackson’s presidency.

With six additional projects in developing stages, Arena Stage is eager to feature plays highlighting some of the most pivotal events that have shaped our country.

“It is one way to learn, debate and grow as a people,” Smith says. “As a theater focused on free speech and American artists, we look forward to the conversation.”

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Kayla Marsh

Kayla is a Northern VA native and graduated from JMU in 2016 with a major in media arts and design. With a background in print journalism, she writes about music, food and sometimes sports. You can find her singing in traffic, at a sports bar watching the Nats, eating tacos or live tweeting The Bachelor.