What is Candidate X?
Candidate X is Ripe Time’s newest theatre work. A dynamic cross between documentary theatre, dance theatre, and immersive spectacle, Candidate X celebrates risk-takers who challenge the gendered expectations our country has of those who lead. The piece plunges inside the minds of women-identifying people running for office in America today. Candidate X celebrates the fight, the grit, and the moxie necessary for women-identifying candidates from across the political spectrum to negotiate their power in an America that tests their revolutionary, beautifully transgressive selves.
In 2019 in America, there are more women and trans candidates negotiating political power in the face of gender discrimination, racial bias, and religious intolerance than ever before. In the wake of Trump's brutal misogyny and racial intolerance, Candidate X serves as both an anthem and cautionary tale to accompany this revolutionary movement.
Inspired by the political emergency of our time, we want to take a more activist approach in this new work towards foregrounding the stories of women-identifying leaders holding onto or trying to attain power.
Americans will have a chance to vote for their next president in 2020. This piece is intended for the American voting public on both sides of the aisle. What we expect of women in politics is not a Democratic or Republican issue. We want to ask, what are the gendered expectations that come along with the person we trust to lead? Why do we hold women-identifying candidates to a higher standard? How do we set the stage for women to be trusted to lead?
Candidate X is built around texts penned by playwright Aisha Zia and based on nationally conducted interviews with candidates and activists from an array of generations, geographic locales, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Other creative team members include composer Kamala Sankaram, interactive projections designer Kate Freer and a diverse team of actors. Director and conceiver Rachel Dickstein will collaboratively devise and choreograph in collaboration with the company.
We are inspired by the brave women politicians on the battlefield today: Women activists insisting on change from second wave feminists to teens mobilizing for gun control. Everyday, we see brave public figures and activists choosing to take a stand for their own lives, and in turn, be ripped apart for their sexuality, their looks, and their inability to conform to "traditional" roles. We see women politicians actively defying these categorizations, leading from the heart, defining their own rules. This new work champions this new leadership for our country and our world.
Within the early months of primary season in 2020, company members will travel to key elections hotspots (ie Iowa Caucauses, New Hampshire primary, Super Tuesday primary sites) to shadow female-identifying candidates and other elected leaders advocating for those candidates as well as interviewing voters from these diverse geographic locales. This community engagement responding in real time to the election cycle will add necessary context and voices to how the piece captures the range of attitudes in the US towards women seeking leadership roles.
Candidate X will be in development in 2020 and set to premiere in 2021. Stay tuned for more details on workshop locations, and presentations!