A Little History

Extreme Exchange (“XX”) brings theatre artists together from across the DC area to tackle national issues that are on our minds but not our stages. We present staged readings, salons, and our popular X-Plays, an evening of freshly written scenes & short plays, followed by a lively talkback. Our goal is to foster a free and open debate that speaks to multiple sides of any given issue.

Started in NYC during the Republican Convention in 2004, XX came to DC in 2005 and has featured work by artists from Rorschach Theater, Charter Theater, Theater J, ACTCo, Theatre Alliance, Quotidian Theater Company, and others.

XX Mission: Extreme Exchange engages audiences and artist in a dialogue about current political and social issues through the presentation and discussion of live theatre. Through this work, Extreme Exchange seeks to:

a) Provide a forum for a balanced exploration of political and social issues.
b) Develop theatre artists’ skill in the creation of political and social theatre that is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
c) Foster a community of artists who can collaborate and support each other in the creation of the work.
d) Build an audience that is both engaged in the work and eager to contribute to the dialogue.

X Play Series

DC Edition 1: America’s Wars

This edition was presented in July 2005 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Events included staged readings of Guinea Pig Solo by Brett C. Leonard, Moot the Messenger by Kia Corthton, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot by Jose Rivera, a series of X-Plays, and a brainstorming session.

DC Edition 2: Is it (WAR) worth it?

This edition was presented in March 2006. On March 20th, at the H Street Playhouse, a staged reading of “What I heard about Iraq” (by Simon Levy, based on the article by Eliot Weinberger) was presented with a talkback. On March 27th, the X plays based on the question “Is it (war) worth it?” were presented at Round House Silver Spring.

DC Edition 3: Dreams and Nightmares for America: The Halloween Edition.

This edition was presented on October 30th, 2006 at Round House Silver Spring. The playwrights were assigned a variety of dreams and nightmares, both conservative and liberal, that were being bandied about in the election speeches and debates.

DC Edition 4: The World Without U.S.

Presented April 30th, 2007 at Round House Silver Spring. Playwrights were asked to respond to an article by Fareed Zakaria (which we have posted on the main page). For extra fun, we required each team to include the same grab bag of items: A quote from the article: “No one even noticed.” An adjective: Friendly. An action: Arm-wrestle. A thing: Pipe Organ. A holiday: Boxing Day.

DC Edition 5: Adopt-A-Candidate

Presented November 12th, 2007 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in the Melton Rehearsal Hall. These wild and inventive X Plays were followed by a lively and intelligent talk-back. Each team picked a contender for the ’08 election and were given three weeks to create a piece supporting that candidate. There were six candidates represented: Dennis Kucinich, Mitt Romney, Mike Gravel, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain.

Making Political Theatre With A Pulse

Presented on January 12th, 2008 at the H Street Playhouse in collaboration with The Inkwell. This evening was a retrospective of short political works from the first 5 X-PLAYS, hand picked to explore how DC playwrights, directors and actors collaborate to create political theatre that’s both political and theatrical.

DC Edition 6: Politically Fringe-alicious

Presented on Sunday July 27th, 2008 on the mainstage at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, this evening of plays was subtitled “Gasoline Hits $10 a Gallon”. The plays were created in five days by our teams of artists and performed on the final day of the ’08 Capital Fringe Festival. The topics were based the results of an online survey that polled audience members and artists about what national issues were most on their minds.

DC Edition 7: Rock The Voting Bloc

Presented on November 1st and 2nd, 2008 at Round House Theatre Silver Spring on the weekend before the Presidential election, this evening of plays focused on undecided voters who have trouble fitting in with one party or ideology.  Our XX playwrights were asked to write a piece based on one of these “purple voting blocs”: Progressive Evangelicals or Socially Conservative Liberals.  The plays and monologues explored issues of religion, morality, and personal choice.   


The Art of Creating Political Theatre

This workshop was presented on Monday, July 21st in partnership with the Capital Fringe Festival Training Factory. eXtreme eXchange artists took participants through the process of creating vital political theater in DC with an interactive workshop. The goal was to produce quickly-made performance pieces on a variety of political and social themes and issues.


One Response to “A Little History”

  1. The Silver Spring Penguin » Blog Archive » This Weekend Says:

    […] p.m. The theater project eXtreme eXchange rolls out “Rock the Voting Bloc”, a series of short plays on this year’s […]

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