BUILDING THE WALL
The Fountain Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
Opens: December 31, 1969
Closes: August 27, 2017
The newest play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle, All the Way, Hacksaw Ridge) was written in direct response to the immigration policies of the Trump administration and is an urgent call to action. In the very near future, the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. As a writer interviews the former supervisor of a private prison, it becomes clear how federal policy has escalated to a terrifying, seemingly inconceivable, yet inevitable conclusion. The Fountain premiere is the first in a series of productions set to take place at theaters across the U.S. as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm & Mondays at 8 pm, now through May 21; $5-$40; Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie), Los Angeles, CA 90029. (323) 663-1525; www.FountainTheatre.com
"...while there’s no disputing the play’s message, its heavy-handed polemics and the production’s flawed execution run counter to its purpose."
"Schenkkan executes his tale skillfully, Michael Michetti has cast and directed it well, and the two actors perform superbly. It’s scarcely their fault if the play fails to convince, and preaches to the choir."
"Multiple-award winner Michael Michetti directs the play, set in the very near future after the Trump administration has carried out his campaign promise to round up and detain millions of immigrants. BWW Review: In BUILDING THE WALL, Playwright Robert Schenkkan Offers a Chilling Call to ActionTaking place in a visiting room at a local prison, we meet Gloria (Judith Moreland) a college professor there to interview Rick (Bo Foxworth), the former supervisor of a private prison now in an orange jumpsuit, As time progresses, it becomes clear how federal policy escalated into something previously unimaginable, with flashbacks reminiscent to how the people of Germany followed orders from the Nazi Administration as being "the best solution" for the problem of holding too many people in an encampment as more arrived day-by-day."
"In his mesmerizing two-hander, the playwright illustrates the chilling speed at which fascistic tendencies can overtake ordinary Americans."
"Robert Schenkkan’s script is sometimes predictable, and the premise—as Gloria asks and Rick answers questions about his beaten-down life which so obviously formed his skewed belief system—often feels awkward and too convenient. Still, the combined artistry of Schenkkan and Michael Michetti guiding these two immensely talented performers helps make Building the Wall an urgently important call to arms."
"In Building a Wall Gloria (Judith Morehead) dissects the motives of Rick (Bo Foxworth), who seems to be the fall-guy for the genocide of thousands of detainees on American soil. Foxworth triumphs in his portrayal of a little guy caught in the middle of powerful forces beyond his control. -Leigh Kennicott"
""As a rallying cry to action, Building the Wall succeeds. Yes, it relies on shock value, but sometimes people need to be shocked awake. As a piece of writing, however, it leaves a bit to be desired.""
"It’s a rough-going 80 minutes but well worth the investment if it leads to greater effort to dismantle the incipient apparatus of fascism in America. The Fountain supplied stamped postcards addressed to the president for audience members to communicate their views. See it while you can."
"Director Michael Michetti, on the postage-sized stage, allows his two actors plenty of time to make their points -- intellectual and emotional -- giving us the opportunity to listen carefully and formulate our own opinions."
"Only two months into his presidency and Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright Robert Schenkkan’s Building the Wall imagines Trump’s plans to “solve” the “problem” of the millions of undocumented immigrants living in America in this world premiere ripped from the proverbial headlines. "
"Perhaps someday someone will write a nuanced, compelling, non-polemic look at the effects of Donald Trump’s immigration policies upon the millions of undocumented immigrants striving to make better lives for themselves in this country. Building The Wall is not that play. Ninety minutes have rarely felt this long."
"Under Michael Michetti’s fluent direction, the two actors, Judith Moreland and Bo Foxworth, duel with passionate intensity over the difference between responsibility and blame. Many people in the arts are using their creative tools to protest injustice and here, with productions of this play scheduled across the country, the alarm is raised. Hopefully such a tragedy could not happen here even though, in this play, it makes perfect logical sense."
"Schenkkan, with a natural proclivity to works based on history (“The Kentucky Cycle,” and “All the Way”), truly delivers in this provocative psycho-social production, sure to keep the audience members in awe, long after the show’s end. Not only was a physical wall built, but a symbolic barrier alienating one people from another, as imaginary protection against the unknown."
"At times, however, the message overwhelms the play, resulting in characterizations suffering in service to the message. Perhaps, rather than a hammer, author Schenkkan might have used a somewhat more subtle call to action. In the long run, BUILDING A WALL feels like a well-written propaganda piece."
"The acting is scrupulously well observed… ‘Building the Wall’ should be seen and shuddered over, if only to heighten our collective vigilance."
"Tyranny happens because not enough people say "No." Sadly, this often takes a partisan turn, as if assaults on human rights were the sole domain of any one political party or group. One of the most powerful things about this play and its production lies in how that is never the point. It paints a horrifying picture of what the Trump administration and its supports might do--a very plausible one--but never hints there is something "other" about those who would commit the worst crimes."