Encore Michigan

Acclaimed Tina Satter play about whistleblower Reality Winner at UMS Jan 29–Feb 2

Preview January 23, 2020 Encore Staff

ANN ARBOR—UMS presents Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription, conceived and directed by Tina Satter / Half Straddle, performed by Becca Blackwell, Emily Davis, Pete Simpson, and T.L.Thompson, as part of UMS’s No Safety Net Theater Festival. The production runs from January 29 though February 2.

On June 3, 2017, a 25-year-old former Air Force linguist named Reality Winner was surprised at her home by the FBI, interrogated, and then charged with leaking top-secret evidence of Russian interference in our voting system to the media. She’s in jail now, serving an unprecedented five-year, three-month prison sentence.

In this production, the verbatim transcription of that FBI interrogation is staged as a play — an offbeat thriller — that reveals a verbal dance between the knife-sharp Reality and the FBI agents. As Reality’s autonomy shrinks before her eyes, a simmering real-life thriller emerges, offering vital considerations of access, language, power dynamics, patriotism, and honor at this particularly loaded American moment.

Post-Performance Artist Q&A
Wed, Jan 29
Featuring creator and director Tina Satter, U-M Professor from Practice in Law Barbara McQuade, and retired FBI agent Gregory Stejskal, moderated by Brian Willen, partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and adjunct professor of law at the U-M Law School.

Post-Performance Community Dialogues
After all non-opening night performances, UMS provides a space for audience members to reflect on, discuss, and analyze the performance they’ve just experienced. Conversations will be guided by experienced facilitators from the community, including Sharman Spieser, Equity Consultant and Community Collaborator.

Pre-Performance Panel Discussion:
Reality Winner, Russian Election Meddling, and the Future of America
Fri, Jan 31 // 6:30 pm // Pierpont Commons East Room
Get a special insight to the Reality Winner case with this special pre-show conversation between Brian Willen, U-M adjunct professor of law, Alex Halderman, U-M professor of computer science and engineering and one of the experts that the Intercept called to comment on the information Reality Winner leaked to them prior to her arrest, and Kevin Gosztola, a journalist and managing editor for Shadowproof.com known for his work covering prominent whistleblower cases including Chelsea Manning and Reality Winner.

Reality Now: A Discussion with Reality Winner’s Mother
Sat, Feb 1 // 4– 5:30 pm // Pierpont Commons East Room
Reality Winner’s mother, Billie, sits down with Ashley Lucas (Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama and the Residential College as well as Director of the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP)), Kevin Gosztola, (journalist and managing editor for Shadowproof.com known for his work covering Reality Winner’s case and other whistleblowers) and audiences for a special talk sharing her experiences of Reality’s arrest and updates on Reality’s current status.

Tickets are available online at tickets.ums.org/events.

Week of 9/25/2023

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