Occupy SLC resorts to theater tactics


Nearly one week after being removed from Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park, the Occupy SLC movement has reconvened. This time the occupants are without their various tents and makeshift cafeteria. The movement, void of these essential elements that brought so much media attention, is resurfacing itself in a new theatrical form.

Last Monday, the movement took to the streets with the first scene in its “Why Isn’t Anyone Helping Her?!” street theater piece. Each day of the week, the participants performed a new scene. The final scene was acted out on Friday. According to a news release, the play took place in the Gallivan Center on Main Street, “but several scenes are too big for a stage and will spill onto the block of Salt Lake City’s financial district.”

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Occupy Salt Lake City is coming up with more creative ways to protest.
Melanie Martin, co-writer and producer for the piece, said this new element adds to the movement.

“The idea for the play came from our desire to add spectacle, humor and creativity to our protests,” she said. “We talked first about having a funeral for the American dream with a casket carried down main street. Ideas all sprung from there.”

The “Occupy Theater” producers outlined the scenes of the play:

Day 1: A flash mob of activists and supporters spread across downtown in character asking passersby, “Have you seen the American Dream?” Eventually the mob gathers at Gallivan where a chorus finds the American Dream playing songs decrying greed. The Fat Cat kills the American Dream as the mob frantically chases after without every really catching it.

Day 2: American Democracy is forced to marry the same Fat Cat.

Day 3: Attendees will be asked to wear black for a funeral procession on Main Street ending at Gallivan Center, in which the pastor delivering the eulogy (Seth Neiley) whips the crowd into a populist rage and the chorus conducts a citizens’ arrest of the Fat Cat,  followed by a New Orleans-style celebratory second line.

Day 4: Lady Liberty prosecutes the Fat Cat using real-life misdeeds and crimes committed by Goldman Sachs.

Day 5: Lady Liberty prosecutes the Fat Cut using real-life misdeeds and crimes committed by JP Morgan Chase.

“This is theater without boundaries,” said Jessica Lee, one of three producers of the play, in a statement anticipating the play. “We expect passersby to be pulled into the chorus by magnetic laughter and call-and-response chanting roles.”

While no official reviews have been issued, the play will be broadcast on KRCL 90.9. KRCL sponsored the skit.

The production team didn’t hold expectations for potential audiences, given the street performance format.

“While I haven’t seen any of the scenes, I doubt it will help resonate the message they’ve had,” said Claire Larson, a BYU student from Dillon, Mont., studying international relations, who has observed both Occupy SLC and Occupy Provo events. “Even with the skit’s outline, there is still a lack of any substantive goals for the movement.”

Occupy SLC, Occupy Provo and Occupy Park City still hold regular events. More information on these organizations can be found on Facebook.

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