Witness a Revolution in 'The Proletariat' at PACA
Friday, Mar. 8
Starting next weekend, The Performing Arts Collective Alliance (PACA) will be showing an original production written and directed by local theatre veterans Ernest Hemmings and Kelly Pryke Rodland, respectively. Tackling issues surrounding unionization and the working class, The Proletariat follows Harold as he accepts a promotion and falls into a plan to get rid of several troublesome workers — until they find strength in numbers, that is. In today's tense political and economic climate, it seems like a story designed to stick with audiences.
"Most of us are very familiar with the idea of working for 'the man;' high-pressured environments where the stakes are raised, but the work is dull; where the stress is immense, yet no one is quite sure what they're actually working towards," explains Rodland. "This piece examines our willingness to forgo ourselves and our needs for the betterment of a company — one that would replace us all without a second glance."
Rodland is also quick to credit Hemmings' writing, which she refers to as unique, fresh, and among the best she's ever read. But The Proletariat is being produced by a crack team that begins with Hemmings' script, continues with Rodland's vision, and expands to its exceptional cast.
"I feel so lucky to have men that I consider to be two of the best actors in Erie involved in this show, Ken Falkenhagen and Aaron Pacy," says Rodland. "Ken and Ernest were undergrads together at Gannon. And Aaron and Ernest were both in high school together."
Before parting ways, Rodland has a final plea for her audience — even if they're not "her" audience, per se.
"Remember, the best way to support and nurture a vibrant community is to support its art. Come to the show and bring your friends. If you don't see our show, go see another one or an art opening, or live music. There is cool stuff happening all over our great town." — Aaron Mook
Fridays & Saturdays, Mar. 8 - 23, 8 p.m. // PACA, 1505 State Street, second floor // $15 // BYOB // paca1505.com