Imitating Emma: Matrix Theatre To Host Staged Reading of Emma Goldman

By Shelby Clark Petkus

A staged reading of Howard Zinn's play, Emma, comes to Detroit this weekend. Zinn, a civil rights activist, chronicled the life of Emma Goldman, "a woman whose beliefs are as relevant today as they were in her lifetime." Goldman was born in the 1860s and began fighting against war and for women's and workers' rights in the 1890s. She is considered a founder of anarcha-feminism and was an early, outspoken critic of prejudice against homosexuals.

The production will be staged by Suzanne Antisdel and Swords into Plowshares Gallery and Peace Center with the Matrix Theatre. Shaun and and Wes Nethercott, the co-founders of the theatre, will also co-direct the reading.

Wes proclaims a great show, noting "We've developed the reading to be interactive, so the audience can participate as both her opponents and her supporters. We will highlight selections from her speeches as well as from her personal life." Audience members will certainly take sides on Goldman's activism. Shaun argues, "Emma was 100 years ahead of her time. It's almost like the past is in the present."

Karen Kron, critically acclaimed actress and recent performer in Matrix Theatre's Death and the Maiden, will play the part of Emma. Kron has performed Goldman's speeches throughout the Metro-Detroit area.

Matrix Theatre is a not-for-profit theatre based out of southwest Detroit. For over 23 years, the company has helped building community and foster social justice through its plays, including over 130 plays originating from the theatre.

Emma will be performed at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 and again at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. The staged reading will be at Matrix Theatre Company, 2730 Bagley, Detroit. Tickets are $10 for general admission. For more information, call 313-967-0599 or visit

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