Theater Department Premieres Dartmouth-written Play on Workers’ Struggles


While the Occupy movement calls attention to America’s struggling “99 percent,” a new play by the Dartmouth Department of Theater weaves the true stories of a range of those Americans into a vivid tale for our times.


Breaking E.D.E.N. is set in the present, in an open meeting of Equity and Dignity for Employees of the Nation (E.D.E.N.), a fictional mega-union that finds itself as a crossroads. That framing story gives way to vignettes based on specific true-to-life cases from around the country—including enslaved migrant vegetable workers in Florida, safety-scoffing mine owners in West Virginia, teachers in “rubber rooms” in New York City, and workers in Virginia struggling to get fair treatment from the Swedish furniture giant IKEA. Each vignette was penned by a different author with Dartmouth connections, ranging from recent graduates to noted professionals.

While the play is sympathetic to the need for workers to join ranks, unions are not always the white knight in these vignettes. “We are trying to include voices that come from both sides of the issue,” said Jamie Horton, associate professor of theater the play’s co-director. “I think it’s time for us to talk about the people on whose backs this is all built, and that’s the working men and women of this country.” Dartmouth theater faculty member Christian Kohn, who is directing the play and conceived the idea with Horton, reports “We’re rewriting daily, just to stay current.”

Breaking E.D.E.N., runs Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12, and Thursday through Saturday, November 17-19, all at 8 p.m.; as well as Sundays, November 13 and 20, at 2 p.m. Shows are in the Warner Bentley Theater in the Hopkins Center. A post-performance discussion follows the show on Saturday, November 19.

Read the full story at Hopkins Center news.

Office of Communications