“Is what we are doing good enough? Have the changes that have revealed themselves in recent years…shown overwhelming evidence that we are doing an intelligent job, an adequate job? I am afraid not. Genuinely afraid.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, April 1961, The Atlantic, “What Has Happened to the American Dream?”
Bismarck State College Theatre, in collaboration with the Humanities North Dakota, as part of the HumanitiesND year-long “GameChanger Ideas Festival” is pleased to announce a call for brand new ten-minute plays exploring the question: What happened to the American dream?
Theatre has had a long history of examining the American dream: whether through Arthur Miller’s cutting critique in Death of a Salesman, August Wilson’s poetic and revelatory Pittsburgh Cycle, the modernist anxiety of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, Suzan-Lori Park’s “Rep and Rev” of The America Play, or Lin-Manuel Miranda’s re-envisioning of the Founding Fathers as played by actors of color in Hamilton, the theatre has always been a forum for exploring the possibilities, anxieties, limitations, and opportunities afforded to people pursuing the American dream.
“Man cannot live without hope. If it is not engendered by his own convictions and desires, it can easily be fired from without, and by the most meretricious and empty of promises.” Eleanor Roosevelt, April 1961, The Atlantic, “What Has Happened to the American Dream?”
Americans find themselves at a crossroads politically, socially, economically. Simultaneously more connected than ever before, and more estranged and dispossessed. In an era of fake news, of foreign governments attacking our social media outlets, what are our convictions and desires? What feelings do those convictions and desires engender, if not hope? Are we living without hope? Are we being fired upon by meretricious and empty promises?
The American Dream means many different things to many different people. Is the American Dream the spread of democracy across the world? Is it the Jeffersonian concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Is it the promise of upward economic and social mobility?
Bismarck State College Theatre seeks brand new ten-minute plays that engage with the question of the American Dream, construed broadly. Plays may be written in any style, set in any time, and may use as many or as few characters as the author wishes.