Saturday, May 21, 2005

Stuff Happens and We Need to Make Them Step In It

Stuff Happens Again and Again...

First full day of rehersal for Stuff Happens at the Mark Taper Forum (see previous posts for details). It's a lot of starting and stopping, since it's a tech rehersal, but I've seen several Bush quotes used that are worth mentioning. One of my favorites is used in the segment of the play where Tony Blair calls Bush to say that British special forces were tracking Bin Laden when they were ordered out by American forces.
"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."--GWB, 3/13/02
While Bush tells Blair it was an operational thing, not an order from the White House, Cheney sits smugly frowning, and there can be little doubt that these guys are screwing the poodle.

This is cross-posted at The Daily KOS.

I'm starting to see a pattern in this play, where the Bush administration is viewed not so much by a fly on the wall, but as a Brit on the wall, with the kind of in-depth critical eye on the goings on that seems to be missing in America these days. For those of us who actually read internet news from a wide variety of sources, including British ones, a lot of the facts in the play are common knowledge. Many people, hopefully, will wonder how much is real and how much is made up, and hopefully they'll go look things up. And many others will think it's liberal bullshit, although I'd be suprised if any of them will shell out the cash for a ticket.

There are some Republican season ticket holders to the Taper, I've followed them to their Escalades and Jaguars with W04 stickers after shows, and I wonder if they'll be here, or if they'll have the balls to walk out. I hope so. That's the kind of head-in-the-sand reaction I would expect from right wing blinder wearers, and the kind of controvery creating action that will sell tickets.

I've also seen a couple of thoughtful monologues from various characters that frame the issues in very enlightening ways, and set the action in terms of times, locations, and philosophies.

The set is large and black. All black. Walls, floor, chairs, tables. On our color monitors throughout the house it looks like a black and white movie. I've been working at the Taper on and off since 1998, and I've never seen a set so dark, or one that forgoes the typical thrust stage in this horseshoe theatre. A large chunk of the action takes place at the same level as the front row audience, making the whole theater seem like congress during the state of the union speech, for example.

It raises the question of dark comedy vs. a tired liberal audience verging on depression already. I wonder how much we can take....

Since it's only a tech rehersal today, the actors are kind of cruising, knowing they can and will be interupted at any moment, so it's hard to get a good feel for how they're playing it. The scene they're working on at the moment is Tony Blair visiting the Bush ranch in Crawford, trying to convince Bush that he needs UN support to make the Iraq invasion legal. Bush follows along to seem interested and polite, but Keith Carradine is very adept at playing the guy who listens and nods enough to look like he's getting it, then goes off and does whatever he wants. At the end of the scene, Bush tells Blair the same thing he was spinning to the public, that there were "no war plans on the table." That they're "just looking at their options." It becomes obvious that Blair's long eloquent speech about diplomacy, UN apporval, and being able to convince his cabinet and people that this wasn't something that a "group in Washington" had already made up their minds on, is a big waste of time to Bush, who has no qualms lying to his face about the decision.

This thread of the sneaky kind of we're-not-actually-lying (heh heh) childish bullshit is pervasive throughout the play's Bush administration hired marketeers who had obviously made up their minds to invade Iraq even before 9-11. This isn't a play for the conspiracy theorists who are convinced Bush knew about 9-11, or even that a missile, not a plane, hit the Pentagon. This is a play based on a very basic fact: the neo-cons were going to war with Iraq and everything else, including lying to Tony Blair, was Madison Ave. meets Pennsylvania Ave.

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