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Previews: THE AGITATORS at FreeFall Theatre

A forty-five-year friendship that shaped the course of history.

Previews: THE AGITATORS at FreeFall Theatre Opening on January 28 - February 26 at freeFall Theatre is The Agitators. Based on a true story and directed by Kristin Clippard, the play describes the lifelong and turbulent relationship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.

Kristen described her reaction upon first reading Mat Smart's script.

"I thought he was a master because he did a really beautiful job weaving together dialogue from actual letters and speeches in a very natural way. The story follows their various causes, but also the ins and outs of their friendship regarding disagreements and arguments about how to serve their cause. Their number one cause was the abolition of slavery, and the next cause was the vote. The play centers upon their work over many, many years."

Kristen said that her inspiration for her vision for the play came from where Susan and Frederick spent most of their time.

"My approach to the play centered on the friendship of Susan B Anthony and Frederick Douglass, and I was interested in creating a neutral space evocative of all the different places we go to. Much of the inspiration came from meeting halls, where they spent a lot of their time and made a lot of their living speaking out on certain causes in meeting houses."

When asked what she loved most about the performance, Kristin had several reasons for adoring this production.

"I love that this is an enduring friendship, that despite their differences, they overcome them to achieve the greater good together. This dialogue feels very contemporary and relatable even though we're in the 19th century. I love that we're living in a time where examining these icons of American history is so relevant because there's a correlation between the struggles of that time and today. I'm not saying they're the same, but we can certainly derive some similarities."

Previews: THE AGITATORS at FreeFall Theatre
Photo by Joseph Michael Kenneth

She said the theme of the show was twofold.

"Can we maintain friendships with people that we disagree with? Yes, we absolutely can and should because it's the people that challenge us who help us grow. I'd also say, you know, sadly, not enough has changed in the last 150 years. I think it will be recognizable to people that we are still fighting for equality in today's era. Hopefully, this play will inspire people to think about how they are working for change and what they could do to lift up others around them."

The Agitators is from January 28-February 26, 2023, at freeFall Theatre. To learn more and to buy tickets, visit

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From This Author - Deborah Bostock-Kelley

A twice-published author, multi-time award-winning playwright, magazine writer, theatre reviewer, and newspaper journalist with 30+ years in journalism and business copywriting, Deb was a 2022 Reci... (read more about this author)

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