Atlantic Yards as Political Theater

bael banner 1 Atlantic Yards as Political TheaterBruce Ratner has drawn resentment and scorn in the Brooklyn community surrounding his planned $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, but now he’s inspired cultural enrichment. Sort of.

A local theater company has created a production, running this week, on the fight over and the effects of the Atlantic Yards project, for which Mr. Ratner’s firm plans to build a Frank Gehry-designed arena for the Nets and more than 6,000 housing units.

Brooklyn at Eye Level, put on by The Civilians production company, will run from Thursday through Sunday at the Brooklyn Lyceum, exploring the debate around Atlantic Yards.

From the show’s Web site:

This lively performance of THEATER, DANCE, and MUSIC takes its inspiration from interviews with the real life players in the story of Brooklyn: residents both old and new, community activists, developers, politicos and others.

Marion Friedman, managing director at The Civilians, told us earlier today that actors and urban planning students from the Pratt Institute have spent the last six weeks doing interviews in the community and with others involved in the project, representing the production’s “investigation” process.

This week’s show, Ms. Friedman said, is not the end of the project for The Civilians, as the company hopes to commission a full-length play on the topic.

Atlantic Yards has also spawned Brooklyn Matters, a documentary critical of the project that had numerous showings for months in Brooklyn.

So does Brooklyn at Eye Level have a stance on the controversial project?

“We are trying desperately not to,” Ms. Friedman said. “Officially, we have no particular stance, and we’re trying to present as many opinions as we can."