Waterwell’s next performance of The Courtroom, a re-enactment of deportation proceedings, is for one night only at the historic Great Hall at The Cooper Union (7 East 7th Street), on Monday, December 9 at 7:00pm. The production is included in The New York Times‘ Best Theater of 2019 list. Tickets are free and available at waterwell.org.
With text arranged from real court transcripts by Waterwell co-founder and Tony Award® nominee Arian Moayed, and featuring direction by Waterwell Artistic Director and Obie Award® winner Lee Sunday Evans, The Courtroom is an intimate encounter with our nation’s immigration court system. Due to popular demand after a sold-out run earlier this year, the production is playing a series of special, one-night engagements in civic venues between now and the 2020 election.
By partnering with The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Waterwell is bringing The Courtroom to one of New York City’s most enduring civic venues. Built in 1858, the Great Hall was the platform for some of the earliest workers’ rights campaigns and for the birth of the NAACP, the women’s suffrage movement and the American Red Cross. Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, Clinton and Obama have all spoken at its lectern. Now, the cast of The Courtroom will stand at that lectern to debate the fate of the show’s protagonist and her family.
The Courtroom features a rotating cast throughout the year. The complete cast for the performance on December 9 is Happy Anderson, Tony Award nominee and two-time Obie Award winner J. Smith-Cameron, Obie Award winner Kathleen Chalfant, Hanna Cheek, Michael Bryan French, Mick Hilgers, Linda Powell, Jason Ralph, and Kristin Villanueva.
The Courtroom is a re-enactment of deportation proceedings. In 2004, an immigrant from the Philippines who was married to a U.S. Citizen came to this country on a K3 Visa. After inadvertently registering to vote at the DMV in Bloomington, IL, receiving a voter registration card in the mail, and voting, her removal proceeding was set in motion. It began in Immigration Court and her case was eventually heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The Courtroom is performed entirely verbatim from the court transcripts.
The performance of The Courtroom at Cooper Union is supported by show sponsors Nazgol Saati and Kambiz Shahbazi.
Performances in 2020 will be announced soon.
Waterwell (Lee Sunday Evans, Artistic Director; Adam J. Frank, Managing Director; Heather Lanza, Director of Education; Arian Moayed, co-founder and Board Chair) is a civic-minded theater and education company creating and teaching contemporary performance that grapples with pressing social, economic and political questions of our time. The company’s most recent production, The Courtroom, which The New York Times called “theater as civic meditation,” was a verbatim re-enactment of deportation proceedings performed in active legal spaces around New York City, including the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse. This Memorial Day weekend, Waterwell produced the first annual Fleet Week Follies, a festival of food and family activities for active duty and veteran members of the military and their families. Waterwell’s education program, the Waterwell Drama Program, has been in residence at the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) since 2010, where it delivers top-quality, year-round, in-school theater training to over 200 NYC public school students.