For the drama, New York playwright Case draws on his past work as an investigator and director of communications for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates allegations of misconduct lodged against New York City police officers.
According to InterAct, Case "has structured The Rant as a 'Rashomon'-like journey in which the witnesses of the shooting of a young African-American teenager offer varying accounts of the event, leading the mother of the boy to cry racism and the woman investigating possible police misconduct to the fact that 'truth' is surprisingly elusive."
This staging is partly funded by the National New Play Network. Under the NNPN Continued Life of New Plays Fund, the title is independently produced at three theatres, each calling the staging a "world premiere," hoping to keep the play's profile high and promote future productions. The Rant was produced in October 2008 at New Theatre (Miami, FL) and will also be produced in 2009-10 by the New Jersey Repertory Company (Long Branch, NJ). Performances continue in Philly to Feb. 22.
InterAct artistic director Seth Rozin stages the producton, featuring Kimberly S. Fairbanks, Elena Araoz, David Ingram and Aldo Billingslea. The creative team includes set and lighting designer Marka Suber, costume designer Mary McCool, sound designer Kevin Francis, stage manager Joshua Lieberman, with Kia-Solange Feindt serving as assistant director, Jessica Hurley as assistant stage manager and Britt Plunkett as technical director.
According to InterAct notes, "On the surface, The Rant is a deceptively simple story. An unarmed, black teenager is shot and killed by police while on the front porch of his home in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Brooklyn.
"Told mainly through a series of monologues, the Rant poetically weaves together the stories of the boy's mother, who sees her son’s death as a racially-motivated murder; the white police officer, who defends his professional ethics and personal reputation from behind a 'blue wall' created by the protection of fellow officers; an inspector of Persian descent, who is brought in to investigate the allegations of misconduct lodged against the beleaguered officer; and a hotshot journalist, who finds himself constantly balancing the job's responsibility to report the facts of a story vs. formulating opinions for thousands of uninformed viewers."
InterAct Theatre Company presents at the mainstage at The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. For more information call (215) 568-8079 or visit www.InterActTheatre.org.
In April 2009 InterAct Theatre Company's season continues with the National New Play Network world premiere of the new comedy, Jihad Jones & The Kalashnikov Babes by Yussef El Guindi.
InterAct's season concludes with the world premiere of the new drama Little Lamb, a play about a complicated baby adoption involving hopeful gay parents, by Philadelphia playwright Michael Whistler. It's the first play to emerge from InterAct's new 20/20 New Play Commissioning Program. It will play May 29-June 28.
Founded in 1988, InterAct "is a theatre for today's world, producing new and contemporary plays that explore the social, political, and cultural issues of our time."