WHAT THE HELL IS A REPUBLIC, ANYWAY?

ABOUT

Written and performed by Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson

2020/21 Season

September 22, 2020—November 2, 2020

Good Neighbor Program Directions Accessibility
Read Synopsis

An interactive examination of community, democracy and what made the Roman Republic fall.

In this tumultuous moment for American democracy, playwrights Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson find it increasingly urgent to focus on what America can learn from the republic that inspired ours: the Roman Republic. This political entity lasted for nearly 500 years before it slid into an autocratic empire. As they dive deep into this history, O'Hare and Peterson expose their own process, demonstrating the difficulties around collaboration. They ask: is it possible to reach consensus? How can two points of view converge in a united vision? Can a democratic system sustain itself in a just way? Is there any way our republic can survive?

NYTW Usual Suspects O'Hare and Peterson return to NYTW following their acclaimed 2012 production of An Iliad. This four-episode series, WHAT THE HELL IS A REPUBLIC, ANYWAY?, brings their collaborative process of theatre-making to the forefront as they turn to the Roman Republic and countdown to the 2020 election. You can book a single episode or take in all four parts to immerse yourself.

We know that the single live performance might not suit everyone's schedule, so we've arranged an "encore" showing like the old Sunday Night movies or a television re-run. If you want to see the live performance, book the premiere date. For this Artistic Instigator project, you'll be invited to participate in the democratic process, so get ready to turn on your camera, raise your hand and be counted!

EPISODE 1 Tuesday, Sept 22 @7pm EDT
Rome & America: Joined at Birth with special guest Roberta Stewart
ENCORE pre-recorded showings: Sunday, Sept 27 @7pm EDT, Sunday, Oct 4 @2pm EDT & Monday, Oct 5 @7pm EDT

EPISODE 2 Tuesday, Oct 6 @7pm EDT
Citizenship with special guest Sonia Sabnis
ENCORE pre-recorded showing: Sunday, Oct 11 @7pm EDT

EPISODE 3 Tuesday, Oct 20 @7pm EDT
How Republics Fall Apart
ENCORE pre-recorded showing: Sunday, Oct 25 @7pm EDT

EPISODE 4 Monday, Nov 2 @7pm EDT
The Election with special guest Jeffery Robinson
ENCORE pre-recorded showing: Sunday, Nov 8 @7pm EDT

A few days before the performance, ticketholders will receive an email with Zoom information and a digital program. If this is your first time using Zoom, you'll be able to set it up on your computer, smart tv, or your preferred device. We'll also have a team available on the day of the performance should you need tech support to get into the performance room. The Artistic Instigator projects will use different technology platforms depending on the best way for you to experience each theatrical event, but we'll be here to support you every step of the way.


WHAT THE HELL IS A REPUBLIC, ANYWAY? Project Team
Dramaturg Anna Morton
Assistant Director Sam West
Project Manager Merrick A.B. Williams
Transcriber Katie Devin Orenstein
Video Editor, Cicero's Dream Casey Stein

NYTW Members and Repeat Defenders have access to book a ticket each episode! Not a member yet? JOIN NOW!

Have questions? CLICK HERE for some FAQs


NEWS

  • Denis O’Hare is an actor, writer and activist who lives in Paris, France. Mr. O’Hare has appeared extensively on Broadway and Off-Broadway. He won a Tony Award for his performance in Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out, a Drama Desk Award for his role in Sweet Charity as well as an OBIE Award for An Iliad. Denis has appeared in such films as Late Night, The Goldfinch, Swallow, The Day Shall Come, Milk, A Mighty Heart, Michael Clayton, Duplicity, 21 Grams, Garden State, Half Nelson, Dallas Buyers Club, Lizzie Borden, The Proposal and The Changeling. His television appearances include five seasons on “American Horror Story,” two seasons on “True Blood,” one season on “Big Little Lies,” appearances on “American Gods” (Season 3), “The Good Wife,” “The Comedians,” “This Is Us,” “Broad City,” and the upcoming HBO series “The Nevers.” As a writer, Denis recently had his first screenplay produced. His movie, The Parting Glass, is available on iTunes and other platforms. With his writing partner, Lisa Peterson, he is the co-author of the play An Iliad, which has been performed throughout the world—most recently in Shanghai and Paris. Denis and Lisa also wrote The Good Book, which premiered at The Court Theatre in Chicago in 2015 and enjoyed a critically acclaimed run at Berkeley Rep in the spring of 2019. Currently, Lisa and Denis are working on a new commission: a piece about the fall of the Roman Empire. In addition, Mr. O’Hare is writing a novel. He and his husband, Hugo Redwood have one son, Declan.

  • Lisa Peterson is a two-time Obie Award-winning writer and director. With Denis O’Hare, she wrote An Iliad, based on Homer’s epic, which won Obie and Lortel Awards for Best Solo Performance.  Recent new work includes The Good Book (written with Denis O’Hare) at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and The Waves (adapted from Virginia Woolf by Peterson and composers David Bucknam/Adam Gwon at New York Stage & Film).  She was the Associate Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre for the last three seasons, where her projects included Office Hour by Julia Cho, It Can’t Happen Here (adapted from the Sinclair Lewis novel by Tony Taccone), Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine, Brecht’s Mother Courage, and a chamber version of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra.  At the Mark Taper Forum, where she was the Resident Director for ten years, her work included Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, Luis Alfaro’s Electricidad, Chay Yew’s House of Bernarda Alba, The Body of Bourne by John Belluso,  and several projects with Culture Clash, including Chavez Ravine and Water & Power. At NYTW, in addition to An Iliad, she directed Tony Kushner’s Slavs, Naomi Wallace’s Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Caryl Churchill’s Traps and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (Obie Award).  Other recent directing work: The Great Leap (ACT); Culture Clash (Still) in America (SCR); Sweat (Mark Taper Forum);Hamlet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Second Stage, and taped for Broadway HD); To the Bone (Cherry Lane); Hamlet in Bed (Rattlestick) and King Liz (Second Stage). She has directed world premieres by major American writers including Tony Kushner, Beth Henley, Donald Margulies, Naomi Wallace, Jose Rivera, David Henry Hwang, Alice Tuan, Marlane Meyer, Basil Kreimendahl, Lisa Ramirez, Fernanda Coppel, Maria Irene Fornes, Jessica Hagedorn and many others.

Denis O'Hare / Writer & Performer

Denis O’Hare is an actor, writer and activist who lives in Paris, France. Mr. O’Hare has appeared extensively on Broadway and Off-Broadway. He won a Tony Award for his performance in Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out, a Drama Desk Award for his role in Sweet Charity as well as an OBIE Award for An Iliad. Denis has appeared in such films as Late Night, The Goldfinch, Swallow, The Day Shall Come, Milk, A Mighty Heart, Michael Clayton, Duplicity, 21 Grams, Garden State, Half Nelson, Dallas Buyers Club, Lizzie Borden, The Proposal and The Changeling. His television appearances include five seasons on “American Horror Story,” two seasons on “True Blood,” one season on “Big Little Lies,” appearances on “American Gods” (Season 3), “The Good Wife,” “The Comedians,” “This Is Us,” “Broad City,” and the upcoming HBO series “The Nevers.” As a writer, Denis recently had his first screenplay produced. His movie, The Parting Glass, is available on iTunes and other platforms. With his writing partner, Lisa Peterson, he is the co-author of the play An Iliad, which has been performed throughout the world—most recently in Shanghai and Paris. Denis and Lisa also wrote The Good Book, which premiered at The Court Theatre in Chicago in 2015 and enjoyed a critically acclaimed run at Berkeley Rep in the spring of 2019. Currently, Lisa and Denis are working on a new commission: a piece about the fall of the Roman Empire. In addition, Mr. O’Hare is writing a novel. He and his husband, Hugo Redwood have one son, Declan.

Lisa Peterson / Writer & Performer

Lisa Peterson is a two-time Obie Award-winning writer and director. With Denis O’Hare, she wrote An Iliad, based on Homer’s epic, which won Obie and Lortel Awards for Best Solo Performance.  Recent new work includes The Good Book (written with Denis O’Hare) at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and The Waves (adapted from Virginia Woolf by Peterson and composers David Bucknam/Adam Gwon at New York Stage & Film).  She was the Associate Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre for the last three seasons, where her projects included Office Hour by Julia Cho, It Can’t Happen Here (adapted from the Sinclair Lewis novel by Tony Taccone), Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine, Brecht’s Mother Courage, and a chamber version of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra.  At the Mark Taper Forum, where she was the Resident Director for ten years, her work included Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, Luis Alfaro’s Electricidad, Chay Yew’s House of Bernarda Alba, The Body of Bourne by John Belluso,  and several projects with Culture Clash, including Chavez Ravine and Water & Power. At NYTW, in addition to An Iliad, she directed Tony Kushner’s Slavs, Naomi Wallace’s Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Caryl Churchill’s Traps and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (Obie Award).  Other recent directing work: The Great Leap (ACT); Culture Clash (Still) in America (SCR); Sweat (Mark Taper Forum);Hamlet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Second Stage, and taped for Broadway HD); To the Bone (Cherry Lane); Hamlet in Bed (Rattlestick) and King Liz (Second Stage). She has directed world premieres by major American writers including Tony Kushner, Beth Henley, Donald Margulies, Naomi Wallace, Jose Rivera, David Henry Hwang, Alice Tuan, Marlane Meyer, Basil Kreimendahl, Lisa Ramirez, Fernanda Coppel, Maria Irene Fornes, Jessica Hagedorn and many others.

Anna Morton / Dramaturg

Anna Morton is the Literary Manager at Roundabout Theatre Company. She was previously on the artistic staff at McCarter Theatre Center, where she developed plays including Gloria: A Life by Emily Mann, The Song of Rome by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, The Refuge Plays by Nathan Alan Davis, The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess, and short play collections The Migration Plays and The Princeton and Slavery Plays. Anna has contributed to Contemporary Theatre Review and the online magazine Page By Page and reads for a variety of playwriting awards and residencies. She holds a B.A. in English from Bowdoin College.

Sam West / Assistant Director

Sam West is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College from Los Angeles. She wrote, produced, and directed her first solo performance piece in school and went on to direct a student production of Dance Nation by Clare Barron. She’s performed at Northern Stage including in the world premiere of Citrus by Celeste Jennings. A sound designer for numerous student productions (Lucas Hnaith’s Red Speedo; other original student works), Sam will be designing two productions at Northern Stage this fall. She’s thrilled to continue with this wonderful team for this prescient series with NYTW!

Merrick A.B. Williams / Project Manager

NYTW: Sanctuary City, Othello, An Ordinary Muslim. Broadway: The Book of Mormon, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. NY City Center: Call Me Madam (Encores)Off-Broadway: Somebody’s DaughterThe LayoverInvisible ThreadThe Other Thing (Second Stage); Gently Down The Stream, Sweat Mobile National, Measure for Measure Mobile (The Public); Daphne’s Dive (Signature). Other NYC: I Understand Everything Better (Abrons Arts Center). Regional: Seder (Hartford Stage); 10×10 (Barrington Stage); On the Town (Boston Pops).

Roberta Stewart / Episode 1 Scholar

Roberta Stewart is a historian of ancient Rome and broadly trained in Classics. She has written on Roman political history, Latin lexicography, and comparative world slavery. In 2009, she had the idea that there could be individual and community benefit to reading and discussing classical literatures of war with combat veterans. “From Troy to Baghdad: Dialogues on War & Homecoming” has spread from New England to Alaska.

Sonia Sabnis / Episode 2 Scholar

Sonia Sabnis is Associate Professor of Classics and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Her research interests include Roman slavery, ancient fiction, and the reception of classical literature in contemporary poetry. Her essay on the evidence of ancient fiction in understanding slavery will appear later this year in The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Slaveries.

Jeffery Robinson / Episode 4 Scholar

Jeffery Robinson is a deputy legal director and director of the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice & Equality, which houses the organization’s work on criminal and racial justice issues. Since graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981, Jeffery has almost four decades of experience working on these issues, including the past five years at the ACLU.  In addition to being a nationally recognized trial attorney and respected teacher of trial advocacy, Jeffery presents to diverse audiences on the history of racism in this country. In particular, one of his presentations forms the basis of an upcoming documentary entitled “Who We Are:  A Chronicle of Racism in America,” which will further the work of The Who We Are Project (https://thewhoweareproject.org/).

Katie Devin Orenstein / Transcriber

Katie Devin Orenstein is a theater artist from New York City and a junior in college. Fave credits: Meryl Louise track, Into the Woods, directing: As You Like It, Wasserstein & Durang’s Medea, May’s George Is Dead. Thank you so much to Lisa and Denis, it is an absolute joy having you in her ears for hours on end. Love and gratitude to the NYTW team, Professor Carol Dunne, her high school Latin teacher Chris Unruh, Dame Emma Thompson, Jimmy Collins & Family, mom, dad, and Patrick, and the 4th grade teacher who forced her to learn typing. Have you mailed in your absentee ballot yet?

Casey Stein / Video Editor, Cicero's Dream

Casey Stein (www.caseystein.com) is a D.C. born, New York educated and Brooklyn based director. He has directed commercials for Nike, The New York Times, IBM, American Express and Verizon among others. He has nearly 250 million views on his commercials and music videos. His films Holy Night and Otis have been featured at festivals around the world, including the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center and The Tribeca Film Festival. Above all, Casey loves a good challenge, strong teamwork and a healthy dose of laughter. You can usually find him on one of his (likely too many) bicycles.