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Flint residents’ voices tell story of water crisis in new work by UM playwright

Stories of Flint's water crisis have been reported on in documentaries, magazines, newspapers, and on television and radio.  

But José Casas, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance, has found a new way to tell the stories of Flint residents — using theater.

Casas’s new play Flint is a series of monologues and group scenes that feature fictionalized characters based on real people who live in Flint. The script is informed by more than 80 interviews Casas conducted with residents.

“The dialogue is 100 % from the people of Flint, as well as a couple of instances of public records,” Casas said.

Flint premieres Friday, April 5 at 8:00PM at the University of Michigan’s Arthur Miller Theatre and will run for two weeks. There is also a symposium featuring panels, lectures, play readings, and workshops at the Walgreen Drama Center on April 4 and 5.

The play will have an additional performance at the Flint Development Center on April 16, as well as a live-streamed performance on April 19. Casas says he hopes to get the word out about Flint “to as many people as possible.”

“There’s a whole lot of Flints popping up in this country, and we need to deal with those too, and to show that it really isn’t just about the water,” Casas said. “Flint has been dealing with a lot of things for decades, even centuries—racism, poverty, violence, social inequity. So those all play a factor in what happened in the water crisis.”

Check out the slideshow above to learn more about Flint and how the play uses theater as a tool for social justice. 

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