To Cast a Predator: Travis Russ’ America is Hard to See and the Ethics of Documentary Playwriting

America Play

The first thing I noticed when walking to the HERE Art Center in Tribeca last month—besides the fact that I was beginning to break a sweat in February—was a crowd of mostly white, middle-aged, New York literati types. This may seem like an irrelevant detail in the context of a theater review, but given the meta-textual experiment that is Travis Russ’ America is Hard to See, the audience is as much a part of the play as the actors and the set. In his latest production from Life Jacket Theater Company, the plot has a clever way of entangling us into a world we would much rather keep at a safe geographical and mental distance, while simultaneously laying bare our perverse cultural appetite for the spectacle of criminality.

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