New York Millennials: Terror of Today’s Election Shapes Tomorrow’s Theater

NEW YORK CITY — The 2016 presidential election is now two weeks behind us, but New School students in the Washington Square park area have not finished airing their grievances over Donald Trump’s nomination. From November 9th to now, students have been seen almost every day outside of 63 Fifth Avenue, The New School University Center, protesting against the President-elect.

In an effort to cope with recent events, New School students have rallied around each other to create safe spaces where each and every student can freely vent their concerns and fears — a place where no voice is forgotten. In the quest to make diversity heard and forever remembered in spite of a President that seeks to eliminate just that, the New School’s creative community is eager and more than willing to channel their energy into their art.

Theatre has often been one of the most expressive and timeless outlets to cope with difficult situations, particularly political, throughout time. Think of some of the greatest plays in English literature — The Crucible, *more examples that I can’t think of right now* — all written in direct reaction to the political situation of the playwright’s time. These plays are still on Broadway to this very day, exhibiting the public’s want and need for a collective release. The most important example of today is Hamilton. The musical thrives because it embodies a diverse America of different colors and sexualities. Vice President elect Mike Pence, known to be fiercely anti-gay, was in attendance of the Broadway show in New York City on Friday. The Hamilton cast was keen on making Pense hear their message: “We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of ALL of us.”

In light of the presidential election, people have been angry and are looking for ways to cope with their fear of the country’s future. Last week vice president elect visited the show and cast of Hamilton. At the end of the show, the cast put together a speech about their fears about racism and sexism in the white house. Since then, there has been backlash from president-elect Donald Trump saying that the cast of Hamilton should apologize, and even calling the show “overrated”. The goal of this project is to take a look at New school Drama students coping with the election through plays, exercises etc. Here is a link to the video of the speech http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/11/19/hamilton-mike-pence-message-broadway-ctn.cnn (Links to an external site.)

Andie Fortier, 19. Studies Theater at the New School.

“A lot of my theater classes we talked about the election in the beginning of class but then continued to work on our scenes or whatever. Some of my teachers have just kind of said that we should channel the energy into our art and work. I work with kids at P.S. 7 in Harlem with the “I have a dream” after care program and with them we have just be trying to provide a safe place where we can talk and provide some sense of normalcy for them.”

“Well we have been working on introducing Shakespeare to them since the beginning of the year so we have continued with that. We begin each session with a “check in” which just consists of some way of checking in on everyone’s day, whether it’s a thumbs up or down, or saying what color they feel like. This is something we always do but it has become more and more important now”

“The day after it happened, some of them asked me what are we going to do. In another group I believe a kid asked if trump was going to take his mom away”