Some of us are canaries in coal mines. Playwrights all over Facebook are reeling from the recent election, wondering what they can do, and like most writers, the conclusion they come to is, write. It's what we writers have all done throughout our lives. When we were small, we learned to scribble our thoughts and ideas, the simple absorption of the ink from a Bic pen onto thick tablet paper made our words as permanent as if in stone. It's the writer's reaction to anything: Get it down on paper. If any good comes out of this next administration, I'm hoping at least we'll get a few new American plays out of it.
In February, 2012 I started a play about a couple of squatters in an old deserted loft, and about a year later those two morphed into characters in an urban terrorist cell. That play, now called The New American, is still in draft form (i.e. it's never been produced, much less picked up by any of the major development groups), but it came from my fear of what I clearly saw as our society slowly starting to break down. Now with the current political climate, I can see I was on to something. Just goes to show: Listen to your gut.
Right now I'm working on securing funding for Alley Cat Theater, this next grand experiment in theater, an experiment to see if theater, and I, can actually make a difference with plays like The New American.
In the meantime, here's an excerpt from The New American.
American No, How? : SLAK’s Speech
It’s called American know-how. You ask another country how to do something, and they say, no, how? Then we show them. That’s American know-how. I’m telling you, man: This country sorely lacks visionaries. Your everyday person would rather wallow in their own shit than actually use their own brain to think, man. They look to the government to save them. That’s why we elected you. I can’t believe people ever bought that shit. It’s like, I don’t know, like, leeches, man. Like doctors used to cover a sick person up with leeches and we’d go, yeah man, bring on the leeches. Now we’re like: leeches? It could’ve worked though. Maybe. It wasn’t that late. All they had to do was search the past. It would have worked. Read some history, man. All those factories, just sitting there. Empty. Doing nothing. Double-u Double-u Two, man. Americans turned all those factories into tank factories. Airplane factories. Whatever. Okay, so instead of building all that war shit they should have built transportation shit. Trains. Invested in the infrastructure, man. It would have turned this country around. Think of the jobs. All those factories would have been crawling with workers building all that shit trains need instead of those crap cars, burning oil and us going to war for the oil. Leaches, man. Aaargh. Makes me crazy. Anyway, you’d have designers designing the trains. People running the factories. Truck drivers hauling stuff around. People unloading the trucks. Construction workers. People laying track, building train stations, and then all the business that would spring up around a train station. We’d be like this whole little self-contained train world. What? We did it with washing machines. Why not trains? You’d have the return of the steel industry cause all those locomotives and train cars and rails are made out of steel. You already had the right-a-ways along the highways. Move the cars out of the way and here come the trains, man. It’s everything the government promised. Jobs. We would have been off oil, which was the major cause for war. It’s green, good for the environment, getting cars off the road. It’s an idea that’s got something for everyone including the crooks in Washington and Wall Street. It could have worked, man.