ETCetera Stage - God's Country by Steven Dietz
In May of 2020, the Elite Theatre Company is proud to present on its ETCetera Stage God’s Country by Steven Dietz, directed by Bill Walthall.
“This exciting, highly theatrical docudrama is about the growing white supremacist movement in America, those dedicated to violent revolution and the expulsion from ‘God’s Country’ of non-Aryans. The play covers all of the right wing lunatic fringe while focusing on three narrative spines: the trial in Seattle of a paramilitary group which calls itself The Order; the career and death of Denver’s Alan Berg, the outspoken, controversial, Jewish talk radio personality ‘assassinated’ by The Order; and, finally, the hate-filled career and death of The Order’s founder, Robert Matthews. These narratives are skillfully interwoven, sometimes non-chronologically, with statistics and facts into a kaleidoscopic and highly theatrical vision.”
— Samuel French
“Dietz intends his play to disturb playgoers, to prod them into thinking seriously about the radical right as a continuing phenomenon and not just as the occasional headline or TV sound bite. It surely does that.”
— Seattle Times
In the early 1980s, Robert Jay Mathews oversaw his white supremacist paramilitary group The Order, as it embarked on the most successful organized crime spree in American history. They were building a war chest by robbing armored cars, assassinating political opponents, and preparing for a desired race war and overthrow of the U.S. Federal Government.
God’s Country is the story of the rise, fall, and the subsequent trial of the surviving members of the Order.
Shocking. Disturbing. Timely.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
This is one gut-punch of a show. The closest genre I can come to describing it is docudrama…90% of it comes from court transcripts and interviews. It covers the rise, fall, and trial of the surviving members of the white supremacist paramilitary group, The Order, who in the early 1980s while seeking the violent overthrow of the US government, perpetrated the most successful organized crime spree in the nation. It’s a play that I’ve wanted to see done in this county for the last decade, and one that I’ve wanted to direct since I saw it at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival back in 1990. It covers the rise, fall, and trial of the surviving members of the white supremacist paramilitary group, The Order, who in the early 1980s while seeking the violent overthrow of the US government, perpetrated the most successful organized crime spree in the nation. In the year of its premiere (1988), it was frightening and timely; in the last four years, however, its relevance has only grown and its timeliness has only become more acute.
My intention is to create an (uncomfortable) immersive experience for the audience: the theater space will extend into the audience, with patrons seated in groups of 12 (as jurors at the trial); continuing the courtroom metaphor, patrons will be “wanded” for weapons with real metal detectors before allowed entry, while some bailiffs (cast members) will be checking under chairs for explosive devices, and other bailiffs will be stationed throughout with mock Mac-10s (security measures taken during the actual trial). My plan is to have, in the lobby, selected pages from the FBI files on the Order posted for audience perusal, as well as a video screen running clips and slides of the Order’s history as well as current events that mirror its racist ideology.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCTION
This production of God’s Country will be an immersive theatrical experience that will put the audience into the midst of both the rise of the racist paramilitary group The Order and the subsequent trial of its surviving members.
Audience members will be subject to the same actions to which trial attendees were subject to in 1985, including metal detection screening and search. Because of the staging of this production, the seating capacity of the ETCetera Stage will be reduced to only 36 seats, so purchase your tickets early!
Given the disturbing subject matter, this production is for mature audiences only, with no one under the age of 16 admitted without parent or guardian.
Auditions for this production will take place in late March. Check back for more information regarding dates, times, and audition sides.