Emergency @ The Geffen

In class yesterday, we talked about stories that use history as a starting point, and the challenges that come with this undertaking. Daniel Beaty’s one-man show Emergency (currently playing at The Geffen Playhouse) does just that. It’s about a slave ship that rises out of the Hudson River, in front of the Statue of Liberty; the people of New York are all stunned, but they each react differently to the intrusion of history into their lives. Beaty performs approximately 40 characters, ranging from a little girl to an old widower, from a dispassionate newscaster to a reality TV show contestant. Some of the characters he brings to life are more fully realized than others, but their testimonies ring with truth–as painful, shocking, thought-provoking, and liberating as it may be. Emergency is playing until May 25, so don’t miss it.