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Chatting With the Tea Party



The Charlotte Tea Party (CAUTION) recently received an email from Rich Orloff, the playwright behind “Chatting with the Tea Party”, a documentary-style play based on over 63 hours of interviews he conducted with leaders of local Tea Party groups around the country.  With the play scheduled as part of the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte’s NuVoices Festival this weekend, Mr. Orloff wanted to reach out and invite the local Tea Party to attend and then participate in an open “talk back” session following the performance.

The history of the play reaches back to the midterm elections of 2010 and the rise of the Tea Party, which was much to the dismay of playwright Rich’s liberal friends. With the 2012 Presidential election heating up, Rich embarked on a trip across America to meet local Tea Party leaders and answer the question, “Who are these people?” What he discovered surprised him, angered him, and touched him, and made him realize that even across the great political divide, we may share more in common than we think. Nothing the interviewees say in the play has been made up.

According to Mr. Orloff, “it is neither an anti-Tea Party nor pro-Tea Party play. Its goal is to create a deeper understanding of the people in the Tea Party. The play inevitably gets a wide range of responses (mostly positive), from people on all sides of the political spectrum.  The talk back is sometimes the most exciting part of the evening.”

As President of the Charlotte Tea Party, I was happy to publicize the event and look forward to attending the Friday performance.  The Tea Party is such a difficult beast to define, even among fellow Tea Partiers, that seeing the take of someone from “the outside”, will be intriguing.

Here are the details:

The play:

a documentary-style play by Rich Orloff

based on interviews with leaders of Tea Party groups around the country.

(Nothing the people say in the play has been made up.)
The place:

Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte

650 E. Stonewall St.

Charlotte, NC  28202


The two readings will be:

Friday Jan 16 at 6 pm (Members of CAUTION will be attending this performance)

Saturday Jan 17 at 9 pm

The play runs a little under two hours, followed by an audience talkback*

(*where you’re welcome to give your comments about the play).

The play will be presented concert-style, with the actors holding their scripts, and no sets or costumes.  But trust me, they’ll be rehearsing all week in preparation of these performances.

Most importantly, price:  If anyone wants to attend for free, that’s completely fine with the theater.  The policy for these readings is “pay what you can”; all contributions are completely voluntary.

CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY is one of four plays getting readings this week in Actors Theatre of Charlotte’s nuVoices Festival of New Plays.  For more information about my play or the festival, visit
That should answer all the questions except, “Hey, is this play any good?”  I sure hope so!  The play has already had readings at a dozen theaters over the past year, and audience feedback – from people across the political spectrum – has been very positive (and helpful).  But I look forward to hearing your opinion as well.

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