American heroes are popping up like free, wild flowers in a field being plowed up by a bulldozer. Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston has said he will protect immigrants in his city no matter what, He said, if necessary, immigrants can live in city hall, in his office, or in any office in the building. This is one beautiful man, one great American. He stands in front of the microphone and a room filled with press and says what he thinks and what he will do. Thank you, Mayor Walsh, for your courage and your inspiration to the rest of us.
The fear and reticence engendered by Donald Trump is affecting the production of TRUMPED. I'm idealistic enough to believe in the Amendment l of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech. One writer insists on a pseudonym to avoid reprisals at work. And one actor will not perform with us for fear of losing her job. I don't hold anything against either artist. Believe me, I get it. So, what about me? Am I crazy to produce, direct, and co-author a play called TRUMPED? I don't think so. I've taken so many hits in my long life from the little fascists that populate our lives that I reached a point when I said, fuck this, and insist on democracy and on the better angels of America. After all, America is an experiment and always has been. Sure it's an easy nation to criticize. Hell, I do it all the time. But only the way one criticizes a father who doesn't do the right thing. Still, he's your father. Or your mother, either way. So, yes, I love America. In spite of the genocide and enslavement surrounding its founding, and despite all the sins it continues to commit. We all know them, so need to repeat them. Still, I believe in the Constitution. I also believe in what James Baldwin once said when he spoke about this country being the only one on earth where all the races and ethnicities try to live together under one roof. No other nation has this challenge. The world looks to us to see if we can pull this off without killing one another in the process. So, we here at The American Poetry Theater are doing our part. We are, after all, The AMERICAN Poetry Theater. And TRUMPED is our next exploration into what that means.
Two of my actors tell me we need some humor in Trumped. Humor? Humor! I don't know about humor for this play. I mean just what is our take on this presidency about to hit us like a nightmare? I suppose we could insert some humor. Shakespeare has humor, says one actor. Comic relief, yes. Yes, I know about this. So maybe comic relief. Is this the right way to go? By now I am not sure about too many things. Which is a lie. Because I am sure there is nothing funny about Donald Trump. And I think trying to find humor in any of this is a delusion. So, I'm listening to Mozart's Jupiter, my favorite of all symphonies. An incomplete symphony written as the master was approaching his death at a very early age. Written as creditors were pounding on his door. I've always identified with this piece. I'd listen to it out on the porch when Thuy-Duong and the boys were asleep on warm summer nights here by the sea. Those were idyllic nights, idyllic days, a long, long time before Trump and the cynicism and despair that have shrouded America. We all need the Jupiter now. We're all facing oblivion now. Before our time.