So What Are We Fighting For? by Melvina Martin takes place at the headquarters of a fictional civil rights organization, “ Fighting For Freedom”, in a small Mississippi town. As the new volunteers arrive for the summer, the internal racism, sexism and bigotry hidden within the organization is made apparent, and the organization’s women are forced to choose between fighting for their personal rights, and protecting “ Fighting For Freedom”.
The script tells a story that needs to be told – its point of view is unique and represents an often overlooked bit of history. The characters are interesting and fully developed, their backgrounds unique and personal interactions meaningful. The events unfold to tell a dramatic, moving, and at times disturbing story. With several more drafts and a dramaturg or research assistant, So What Are We Fighting For? could be a really important piece of playwrighting. However, where it falls short is in the roughness of the dialogue, especially in terms of period appropriate language. Although the play is set in 1963, characters speak in a distinctly modern way. Near the end, the forward motion of the play starts to drag as characters repetitively state their purposes, motives and feelings.
If one thing can be said about Be A Lion Productions, it is that they have heart. The dedication of everyone involved in the production is palpable. Each of the actors is passable but polished; no lines are flubbed or mumbled, blocking is spot on, but no one truly shines. Production elements are sparse – as one expects from Fringe – but in a period piece un-tucked shirts and 80’s radios can be jarring.
Over all, I would recommend this to anyone interested in the subject matter who is willing to over look the productions flaws for the sake of a good story. I also found it refreshing to see a production with so much obvious, unpretentious passion and dedication.
A Note: I was informed that the show has two casts, the second of which will be performing this weekend.
So What Are We Fighting For?
Written and Directed by Melvina Martin
Produced by Be A Lion Productions
Reviewed by Jessica Pearson
Running time: 75 minutes
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?