About the Play
In Don’t Call it a Riot!, local playwright – and 2019 Emerald Prize finalist – Amontaine Aurore explores the history of Seattle activism from the height of the city’s 1960s Black Panther Party to the 1999 WTO protests while uncovering the toll that a commitment to social justice can take on the day-to-day lives of activists. The play’s limited-run debut led R. Barron of Seattle Gay Scene to write, “As playwright, Aurore deftly wove activism and values playing both in the streets and in living rooms.”
Don’t Call it a Riot! focuses on Reed, a 20-year-old college student who is expecting her first baby while also being an active member of Black Panther Party. The story explores the effect that fighting for liberation has on the foundations of her home life and follows the character’s 31-year journey to discovering the forces responsible for the turmoil that challenged the Black Panther party and at the root of a dream deferred.
As an African-American who grew up in Seattle and Burien during the civil rights era, Aurore has an intimate understanding of the differences between the sensationalized image of the Black Panthers and the realities of their contributions and ties within the black community. She sees in today’s new generation of activists the same passion and commitment—and issues—that drove the Black Panthers.
In the process of developing the play, Aurore spoke with Aaron Dixon, co-founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther party, and Norm Stamper, Seattle’s Chief of Police during the 1999 WTO protests who is now a staunch police reform advocate. She wove their observations and perspectives into the narrative to ensure that Don’t Call it a Riot! accurately conveys the historical elements of the story as well as the emotional weight that this period carried for all involved. Aurore hopes that hearing these voices in the background of the work will leave the audience with a greater understanding of the sacrifices that people make at the frontlines of the fight for social justice. The playwright also seeks to share historical lessons to help the current generation of activists avoid harmful pitfalls of the past.
“I am fascinated by Seattle’s rich and radical history that rarely gets discussed. Although this story portrays a past era, I am still struck by how the social and political issues that plagued our country in the ‘60s and ‘70s are still just as salient and relevant to today’s world.”
Produced by Ten Auras Productions, Trial and Error Productions.
Written and directed by Amontaine Aurore.
Meysha Harville as Reed.
Lillian Afful-Straton as Marti.
Skylar Wilkerson as Falala.
Mic Montgomery as Sam.
Robert Lovett as Paris.
Stage Management by Tiana Ross.
Set Design and Build by Parmida Ziaei and Matthew Smith.
Set Artistry by Lauren Holloway and the Franklin High School Art of Resistance Club.
Costume Design by Carolyn Hall.
Lighting Design by Zanna King.
Original music by Don Howell.
Graphite and ink drawing by Kimisha Turner.
Production Assistance by Sarah-Kate.
Social Media Management by Whitney Bashaw.