It is important for us to create works that reflect and illuminate the diversity of our culture

Lynn Nottage once said, “It’s times like these where we particularly need our artists to be active participants in the public discourse. I feel now, more than ever, it is important for us to create works that reflect and illuminate the diversity of our culture. We must move beyond articulating our frustrations and become disruptors and agitators, actually do something to bring about change. We must be disruptors, even if our gestures are tiny gestures… and we can’t wait for our cultural institutions to give us permission to enter creative spaces.” For this essay assignment, take up Nottage’s argument here and assess its validity. Using the two play also wrote by Nottage, POOF! (1993) and Sweat (2015), develop your own argument on how both works can possibly bring about social, cultural, and/or political change. In your view, how do both plays allow “a shift in perspective,” one that has not been heard (or heard enough)? How do these plays disrupt or agitate? In other words, what is being disrupted and agitated in these works, with these characters? What complicated socio-political issues is she bringing to the forefront in both, and why? How might these issues have bearing on where we are as an American society today? In what ways do these plays matter, and still have a voice, today in 2019? When developing your central claim, clearly illustrate how you are interpreting and applying change in relation to both plays, and how you are also defining what you believe to be the “complicated socio-political issues” that each play is exploring. Use specific examples, details, and quotes from BOTH plays in order to support your argument. At some point, you also will want to place the two works in conversation. You will want to make sure that you are giving ample time to addressing not only what you perceive to be the defining moments of each play, but also how you are applying these moments to your overall claim. Whenever possible, underscore how (and why) these works have particular resonance today in 2019.
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