This Is The Times

A fictional play-within-a-sketch-improv-show, 1954. Director Barney Silver has returned to Cleveland from Chicago after the devastating break-up of a foundling theater company called “The Compass.” He enlists the assistance of three young actors – Julia, Danny, and Desmond Browne to experiment with a new form of improvisational theater. Their efforts at creating a “workers’ theater” of unscripted...
A fictional play-within-a-sketch-improv-show, 1954. Director Barney Silver has returned to Cleveland from Chicago after the devastating break-up of a foundling theater company called “The Compass.” He enlists the assistance of three young actors – Julia, Danny, and Desmond Browne to experiment with a new form of improvisational theater. Their efforts at creating a “workers’ theater” of unscripted enactments of recent events do not come to fruition, however, as they discover that audiences are more amused by improv than moved by it. Frustrated at their lack of dedication to progressive ideals, Barney finds is outnumbered and resigns himself to their creation. Danny and Julia’s relationship falters even as their comedy stylings attract national attention. Desmond, confined to supporting roles due to his race, finally steps up during a NYC try-out and creates one of the few deep pieces “The Times” has ever created. The other shoe drops after Danny and Julia quit the company and their fame attracts the attention of the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities. Danny flees to Europe, Julia and Desmond are grilled about their subversive subject matter, their personal relationships, and the influence of their mentor, Barney Silver AKA Bernard Schrader. For his part, Barney/Bernard entirely capitulates and names names before the committee.
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This Is The Times

Recommended by

  • Ricardo Soltero-Brown:
    18 Apr. 2017
    Hansen's play is as ambitious as the project the central characters attempt within it. Stylistically and conceptually, it's bold; the set's design is a stage for a sketch comedy troupe, played upon as such by the actors, while the story takes place in 1954 and makes use of the social, sexual, racial and political notions of the time. These factors add up to something of a cross between Marie Jones' 'Stones in His Pockets' and Lillian Hellman's memoir, 'Scoundrel Time'. The play can be sincere, mischievous, even waggish, and is quite often all at once.

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Cleveland Public Theatre
    ,
    2013

Awards

Honorable Mention
,
4th Annual New Play Festival
,
Ohio State University-Newark
,
2015