The New York arts and theatre scene could never be accused of political ambivalence – especially with an election on the way, and a Republican Convention soon to hit town. So if political theatre is your bag, or if you’re just looking for something to constructively raise your blood pressure, Gothamist suggests that you check out some of the following:


MAKE NICE? MY ASS!

If laughter’s your preferred way to survive this election season, Gothamist suggests Make Nice? My Ass!: The Republican Convention Welcome Wagon Variety Show. Every Thursday evening through Aug. 26th, The Vital Theatre Company serves up a healthy dose of talent (and comedy) with a political edge. Hosted by Ron McClary, the line-up changes from week to week with a handful of regulars. The Vital Theatre is located at 42nd Street, btw. 9th & 10th Aves on Theatre Row, and you can make reservations through their website.

THE UNCONVENTION

During the end of August and the beginning of September, six local Off-Off Broadway companies team up for a mini-festival of “provocative, political theater” that will include “roundtable discussions, workshops on political involvement and debates with local candidates.” The UnConvention will set-up at the Abingdon Theatre Complex and The Loft Theatre (on 36th street), only four blocks away from the RNC at Madison Square Garden. Their prime location and proximity to the actual event will offer laymen and protesters alike a place to boost your morale, or recharge your batteries after a tense day caged in the "free speech" zone.

Plays include Stages 5150’s original production of KtP, described as “a fast paced adventure where democracy reigns and every vote counts. Audience members will be polled and their votes will directly influence the direction of the play. Should capital punishment be legal? How far should civil disobedience go? Is killing another human being ever acceptable? One play. Five Questions. Unlimited possibilities. We perform. You decide!” If their fascinating and very physical production of Artaud’s, Spurt of Blood last season is any indication, this production should prove to be of interest.

Stages 5150 are joined by five other leading OOB companies: The Subjective Theatre Company, Stone Soup Theatre Arts, The Kiva Company, One Year Lease, and The Management Company, and all six are companies you should keep your eye on. Check out the UnConvention website for more information.


IMAGINE

NY, America presents their first annual Imagine Festival of Arts, Interests and Ideas which begins Aug. 28th and runs through Sept. 2nd. The organization is “committed to engaging the public in civic discourse through events that unite the arts, sciences, and humanities,” and will do so in well-over 60 venues throughout the city. Highlights include the kick-off of Margaret Cho’s new comedy tour, State of Emergency, the return of The Flea Theatre’s production of Mrs. Farnsworth by A.R. Gurney, and a screening of segments of John Sayles’s new film, Silver City.

For a schedule of events and more information, log on to: NY, America or Imagine, 04