The­atre Horizon’s The Agi­ta­tors’ revives Amer­i­can activist icons

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Steve Wright and Charlotte Northeast star in 'The Agitators' at Theatre Horizon. (Photo by Daniel Kontz.).
Steve Wright and Charlotte Northeast star in 'The Agitators' at Theatre Horizon. (Photo by Daniel Kontz.).

Change doesn’t just happen. It requires agitators, rebels, activists—people challenging the status quo over a period of time. Maybe forever.

Theatre Horizon presents The Agitators, a play by Mat Smart that brings to life Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, two iconic activists who helped shape US history. This extensively researched play explores 45 years of their tumultuous friendship, which begins in the 1840s during their fight to end slavery and is tested during their disagreement about how to gain voting rights.

Fighting for rights

Both believed in universal suffrage but as they fought for equality, each was faced with the dilemma of compromise. Charlotte Northeast, who plays Susan B. Anthony, says the legends we may have learned about “are more complicated and nuanced than anything that can be found in a history textbook. That there is no clear path to good intentions, that compromise isn't always clear and that your convictions, while valid, may sometimes have to be re-examined to ensure they are still the right path.”

Steve Wright, who plays Frederick Douglass, says this play demonstrates how “people can have different points of view and different backgrounds and still love one another.”

100 years and beyond

For this production, Theatre Horizon partnered with Women 100, a series of programs and events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. Women 100 is a project of Vision 2020, a national women’s equality coalition headquartered at Drexel University.

This two-character play by Mat Smart, which stars Charlotte Northeast and Steve Wright and is directed by Cheyenne Barboza, is a relevant examination of history and how it is urgently linked to present day.

What, When, Where:

The Agitators will be performed at Theatre Horizon February 28 through March 22, 2020. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 610-283-2230, or at the Theatre Horizon Box Office, 401 DeKalb St., Norristown, PA 19401. This performance is BYOB.

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