Saturday, March 18, 2017


Last night I saw The Assembly's play HOME/SICK about the Weather Underground. If you haven't seen it yet, go now, as it's only running until March 25th.

I'm a big fan of The Assembly. That Poor Dream, their modernized adaptation of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, was one of the best plays I saw in 2014.

HOME/SICK, which was devised by the actors under the direction of Jess Chayes, tells the story of how the Weather Underground faction first split apart the anti-Vietnam War movement, then turned deadly with a series of bombings and robberies, and eventually fell apart in chaos.

In a talkback last night, Mark Rudd, a former member of the Weather Underground, spoke with the actors about what they, and we as a society, have learned from the group's failure. Far from romanticizing the Weathermen, HOME/SICK deals directly with the problems of using violence to counter violence, an issue Rudd has taken up later in life.

The actors include Edward Bauer (who played Pip in That Poor Dream) as one of the few Weathermen who actually knew how to get things done. Ben Beckley (who gave a magnificent performance in The Assembly's I Will Look Forward To This Later) plays a charismatic radical who later alienates those who once most admired him. Kate Benson, who bears a certain resemblance to former Weatherman Bernardine Dohrn, plays the clear leader in this collective that supposedly renounces leadership.

Though I'm familiar with a number of The Assembly's regulars, this was my first time seeing Anna Abhau Elliot and Luke Harlan, but they both gave complex and moving performances as idealistic but misguided young people who eventually had to face questions about whether their actions had ever done any good.

Perhaps the most growth came in the character played by Emily Louise Perkins (Jaggers from That Poor Dream) who transformed herself over the course of the play from a naive, girlish college student into a hardened realist doing whatever she has to in order to get by in the world.

HOME/SICK is currently playing at JACK in Brooklyn. For tickets, go here.