We Declare You a Terrorist

"We Declare You a Terrorist..."

By Tim J. Lord
Originally Produced at Round House Theatre, Bethesda, MD
April 7 – May 8, 2022

In “We Declare You a Terrorist…”, playwright Tim J. Lord takes the real events of the infamous 2002 Moscow theatre hostage crisis and refines them into a taut four-person thriller. Employing elements of both live theatre and film, “We Declare You a Terrorist…” will be co-directed by Artistic Director Ryan Rilette and Jared Mezzocchi, the team behind The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which became the third best-selling show in Round House history.

Artistic Statement: Based on true events, “We Declare You a Terrorist...” transforms the controversial and infamous 2002 Moscow theatre hostage crisis into a political thriller that asks difficult questions about loyalty and allegiance by focusing on the personal and intimate. What do you do when you disagree with your country? When there are lies your country’s government is perpetuating? When standing up for the truth can put your own life in danger? These are perennial questions for people around the world, but they took on a harder edge for many artists in the U.S — including playwright Tim J. Lord — during the Trump administration.

The play also serves as a reminder of the brutal tactics of the Putin regime. While the Biden administration is less hesitant to call out Russian interference in our elections and their state-sponsored cyber-attacks, those recent incidents are ideological and political threats; by centering the 2002 crisis, this play reminds us of the very real physical violence employed by Putin’s government against terrorists and loyalists alike.

Coming out of a pandemic, there is an ongoing conversation around what has been learned during this time and what we will carry forward with us. By combining film and traditional theatre on stage, this piece is a valuable way to explore Round House’s answers to those questions, applying the lessons learned from our successful endeavors in the virtual space over the last 18 months to the live performances our audiences know and love.

Grant Statement: Round House Theatre is proud to feature Tim J. Lord’s “We Declare You a Terrorist...” as part of our inaugural New Play Festival during our 2021-22 Season. This celebration of new work will further expand the scope of American theatre, highlighting new voices and offering an opportunity for emerging artists to refine their plays in process.

This world premiere production will create an intimate space in which spare, simple set design comes together with an immersive film component to evoke the space between memory and reality. The small cast offers an examination of the nature of human connection. While the play has had workshops and staged readings as part of its development, preparation for its premiere will require an investment in rehearsal time to align the dramatic text with the dynamic production design. An Edgerton Foundation New Play Award will allow us to offer two weeks of additional rehearsal time needed to realize this world premiere production at the highest artistic level. The creative team knows that the production will incorporate video and projections, and that the piece’s exploration of memory will live in that relationship between the live bodies on stage and the film, but the specifics of that relationship and how it will all co-exist on stage is a work in progress. This grant gives the team the space to play and experiment and even fail as they work to understand those relationships, resulting in a more exciting and ultimately successful production.

It can be a long journey from playwright’s pen to world premiere, and we are grateful for the support of the Edgerton Foundation and TCG in offering the creative support necessary to produce a world premiere at the highest level of artistic quality. The Edgerton Foundation’s enduring dedication to new work has fostered some of the greatest modern productions to grace stages across the country and around the world, and we are honored to be included amongst the 2021-22 New Play Award recipients.

Co-Directors: Ryan Rilette and Jared Mezzocchi