Coming Up: A Theatrical Reading and Panel Discussion on We the Living/The Unconquered

Coming Up: A Theatrical Reading and Panel Discussion on We the Living/The Unconquered

On July 11, a theatrical reading with panel discussion of Ayn Rand’s We the Living/The Unconquered will be held at the Cato Institute.

Ayn Rand’s first novel, We the Living, is a story set in 1920s Russia about students trapped in a communist state. As Rand said, “We the Living is not a story about Soviet Russia in 1925. It is a story about dictatorship, any dictatorship, anywhere, at any time.” With new authoritarian challenges arising throughout the West, its ideas are as timely as ever.

A panel discussion on its themes of individualism and authoritarianism will follow the staged reading of scenes from The Unconquered, Rand’s play based on the novel from the book edited by Robert Mayhew, who will be in attendance.

The professional theater company Austin Shakespeare will present the staged reading with actors from New York and DC; Austin Shakespeare produced a stage adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Anthem Off-Broadway in 2013 for a six-week run.  

The cast for this reading of We the Living/The Unconquered will feature Matthew Lieff Christian (Anthem, Off-Broadway), Gwendolyn Kelso (A Streetcar Named Desire in Austin) and as “Kira,” Liba Vaynberg (Madam Secretary).

We the Living/The Unconquered is Ayn Rand’s story of Kira Argounova, a university engineering student who falls in love with Leo Kovalensky, son of a czarist hero. Both Kira and Leo yearn to shape their own future, but they are trapped in a communist state. “During our Anthem performances at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, many individuals cited Rand’s work as not just fiction, but as describing life in the totalitarian states they themselves had emigrated from, such as China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Eastern Europe,” said Austin Shakespeare artistic director Ann Ciccolella. “We the Living/The Unconquered brings that into an even more dramatic experience.”

The panel features Onkar Ghate, senior fellow and chief content officer at the Ayn Rand Institute; Sarah Skwire, senior fellow at Liberty Fund and literary editor at FEE.org; and Cathy Young, author of Growing Up in Moscow and columnist for Newsday and Reason; moderated by Caleb O. Brown, director of multimedia, Cato Institute. 

To attend the reading, register here (before 4 p.m. Monday July 10).