Mat Smart's Fascinating Historical Drama
Gloucester Stage continues their 39th season and its theme of strong, empowered women with Chicago playwright Mat Smart's The Agitators, the riveting true story about the at-times-tumultuous relationship between social rights reformers Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony. Smart's amusing, well crafted dialogue, moving sequences and dramatic moments punctuate a thrilling tale of friendship, betrayal and reconciliation that brings fascinating history to life, its themes still ringing true today.
Having met as youngsters in 1845, former slave Douglas and Quaker Anthony were already gaining notoriety as abolitionists, initially bonding through their shared desire for social change and fighting spirit. A deep kinship formed, yet over the years their paths diverged and often clashed - Anthony's advocacy of women's rights and their right to vote may not have been the top of Douglas' agenda, which was the freedom of people of color first and foremost. This earnest and insightful retelling of the two historical pioneers draws fascinating and often uncomfortable parallels with today's social injustices.