Billed as a contemporary political thriller, the off-Broadway hit runs on the Midtown venue’s Hertz Stage today through Nov. 17.
“I was very interested in creating a play in which the entangling nature of politics and what people do within the system of politics is rational … and what do idealistic human beings do once they get entangled in that system,” Lin said. “So, the play is about why our politicians are real people … and how this dysfunctional system is often times a function of their humanity and a function of their idealism.”
The critically acclaimed theatrical piece essentially brings Lin’s Atlanta connection full-circle. He earned his early creative stripes by winning the 2006 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition.
“It’s amazing to reconnect with Ken and have him here at the theatre again,” said Celise Kalke, the Alliance’s director of new projects. “Since 2006, he has been industriously stewarding the talent we recognized in him early on. The Alliance is very proud to have played a role in launching this wonderful playwright, and no less proud to be producing this thrilling play.”
“Warrior Class” tells the story of a rising Asian-American political star being groomed for a big Republican race in New York. When an interloper from his past threatens to reveal a college transgression, the beleaguered politico must decide how far he’ll go to keep the incident out of the public eye.
The sharply executed project draws parallels to the current events dominating media coverage.
“It’s kind of an interesting time to be talking about [the play’s premise] now because we seem to be existing in this crucible of American politics, where we have one political party that just committed an all-or-nothing gamut to take down Obamacare and is experiencing a lot of repercussions right now,” Lin said. “And, in looking at politics, there seems to be this paradox: Why are these brilliant, hopefully fair and moral people working together so poorly?
“We’re seeing a system that is experiencing such profound gridlock …”
The show, on stage, is laden with a palpable chemistry among its players. The cast is led by the thespian triumvirate of Clayton Landey as political-fixer Nathan Berkshire, Moses Villarama as up-and-coming political star Julius Weishan Lee and Carrie Walrond Hood as Lee’s former girlfriend Holly Lillian Eames. Seasoned director Eric Ting heads up a behind-the-scenes roster.
“Hopefully, [audience members] will see a more nuanced depiction of politics that transcends party lines,” said Lin. “I think we’re all a little bit exhausted of the whole Republican-Democrat dynamic and that’s really just a little bit of window dressing that covers up a lot of other dynamics that go into politics.
“I do hope that they’ll come away with an understanding of this animal that is politics and this business that is politics.”
“Warrior Class” marks the second production in the Alliance’s 10th anniversary season of the Alliance/Kendeda model. It also marks Lin’s continued ascent in the creative realm.
The married father of one has written more than seven plays that have had multiple productions all around the country. Lin is also a writer on the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix series, “House of Cards,” starring Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey.
IF YOU GO:
o What: 'Warrior Class'
o Where: Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St., Midtown
o When: Today through Nov. 17