Blindspot Collective and Director of Artistic Development Blake McCarty are inviting audiences everywhere to gather for some GOOD TROUBLE. Borrowing words from John Lewis and inspired by youth activists this theatrical piece is a unique combination: a theatrical event held in parks and public outdoor spaces, a with enforces social distancing, to experience a recorded performance together. Blake McCarty talks about putting the piece together and what the audience can expect from the event, which runs from October 17th through November 1st.
GOOD TROUBLE is an original protest musical based on interviews with many local activists and community organizers under the age of 25. Blake McCarty is the Director of Artistic Development for Blindspot Collective, but he is also the co-creator and co-writer of for GOOD TROUBLE as well as the director. McCarty says that with a cast of 9 that was chosen from over 200 submissions and includes 4 that are local to Southern California and the others from Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and New York, this reflects a nationally collaborative experience.
This original protest musical is based on research and over forty interviews with local activists and community organizers under the age of 25. “Good Trouble” combines verbatim dialogue, poetry, audience participation, and original music by Richard Allen and Taran Gray to explore the youth activism that is changing our world.
While this year has come with some challenges for theatre, it is those very challenges that helped this show come to fruition. Inspired by the pandemic and the racial justice protests this project came together to create something that is unique to this moment.
This project evolved based on shifting needs and opportunities. The co-creator of the project, Catherine Hanna Schrock, and myself were grateful to receive funding from the California Arts Council to create an original work in partnership with ARTS: A Reason to Survive. Our original idea was to develop something in coordination with the 2020 census, but COVID-19 and the resulting closures and safety measures dramatically altered those plans.
Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, and the continued national reckoning with racial injustice that coincided with a global pandemic and the loss of multiple Civil Rights leaders like John Lewis, we began to wonder how we could engage and contribute to the conversation.
McCarty also notes that Blindspot Collective’s privilege to work with many young artists and activists also inspired them for this piece.
We’ve been lucky to work with numerous young artists and activists who consistently challenge and inspire us, and based on our conversations with them over the last few years we felt it was important to provide a wider platform for their voices and perspectives.
The Collective’s past theatrical experience working with audio plays in collaboration with the La JollaPlayhouse also provided an idea on how to explore this piece in public but with a safe physical distance.
Having previously produced a series of podcast plays in collaboration with La Jolla Playhouse, we were curious about how else we could use the audio play format while encouraging audience members to engage with others in their community. The result is an auditory experience that can be enjoyed while physically distant but gathered together in public parks. While we are looking forward to gathering safely and distantly with masks in San Diego parks, accessibility and inclusion are of critical importance to us.
For that reason, we are partnering with other organizations both locally and nationally, with a nationwide event on Sunday, November 1 so that those who are able to gather may do so and those who wish to participate from the safety of their home may participate in a live-streamed online event. While physical theaters may be closed, we still believe in the power of theatre to unify and enlighten, and this difficult but critical period in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election is an important moment for artists to use their voices and platforms in whatever way they can.
The audio component of the play also reinforces a plea that is repeated throughout the show, that people simply “listen”.
Regardless of our own political persuasions, the creators of this experience fundamentally believe in the power of listening to one another and recognizing our shared humanity despite our differences. It’s also important to us that GOOD TROUBLE inspires a sense of connection with those around us. The combination of a pandemic, climate crisis, continued racial injustice, and violence and vitriol toward women, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized groups is staggering and overwhelming. In many ways, we need the support of our communities more than ever even as we are aware that to maintain our health and safety we must isolate ourselves. I hope that this experience is an opportunity to reconnect – if only for an hour – and remind others that they are not alone. We stand with you. We share your pain and your hope. And we have the power to change the trajectory if we work together.
At the end of the performance, McCarty hopes the audience walks away feeling empowered, hopeful, optimistic, and inspired to exercise their right to vote.
When they fill out their ballots, maybe they’ll remember some of the voices they heard and really consider the impact their choices may have on the next generation. But most of all, I wish audiences walk away humming a refrain of one of the incredible, original songs in the show with a spring in their step, having been reminded that against all odds there are still reasons to be grateful and hopeful.
In the inimitable words of John Lewis, I want audiences to walk away and get in some good, necessary trouble because sometimes it’s the only way to create radical change.
Blindspot Collective GOOD TROUBLE has performances from October 17th – November 1st. For tickets and performance information go to www.blindspotcollective.org/good-trouble
Saturday, Oct. 17 at 11am in Downtown SD
Saturday, Oct. 17 at 4pm in Linda Vista
Sunday, Oct. 18 at 11am in Southeast SD
Sunday, Oct. 18 at 4pm in Chula Vista
Saturday, Oct. 24 at 11am in Pacific Beach
Saturday, Oct. 24 at 4pm in National City
Sunday, Oct. 25 at 11am in La Jolla/UTC
Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4pm in City Heights
Sunday, November 1 in Balboa Park and select cities across the country
Blinspot Collective GOOD TROUBLE
Created & Produced by Catherine Hanna Schrock & Blake McCarty
Featuring: David André, Tas Al-Michael, David Coffey, Rachel Herrera, Nathan Nonhof, Angelynne Pawaan, Isaiah Rosales, Kiara Wade, & Gwynne Wood
GOOD TROUBLE developed in collaboration with an artivist team that includes Bianca Jennings, Bernardo Mazón Daher, Wilfred Paloma, Mekala Sridhar & Sofia Zaragoza with additional research and interviews by Stelle Andrade, Rebeca Elliot, Nadia Nunez, Lilia Porter, Lizbeth Rocha & Shawdi Sani
Associate Directors: Bianca Jennings, Wilfred Paloma, Mekala Sridhar & Sofia Zaragoza
Sound Design & Engineering: Evan Eason
Community Liaison: Bernardo Mazón Daher
Livestream Designer: Patrick Gates
For more interviews click here