'Trump's Fifth Avenue: A Political Fantasia'
Presented by Shoot the Moon Theater Company, ensemble production puts President's words - and world - in context
Derived from speeches, interviews, — and of course, tweets, — by Donald Trump, Artistic director Joshua Moyse has conceived a non-linear look into the culture of the iconic Manhattan street that Trump once famously said he could stand in the middle of and shoot someone without suffering political consequences.
"Trump is a creature and symptom of Fifth Avenue. His appeal to voters is their emotional reaction to this world," explains Moyse, citing flagships of consumerism like Tiffany's, Gucci, and Saks, as well as famous landmarks like the Plaza Hotel, Saint Patrick's Cathedral and the Empire State Building that dot the street with the world's most expensive real estate, including Trump Tower. "It made sense to structure the piece like a musical score, with recurring motifs that evoke those emotions, rather than a narrative structure with a beginning, middle and end."
The cast of Elias Burgess, Terry Carter, Corrine Elisabeth, Josh Goldstein, Colin Grube, Jon Mack and Xoe Perra take turns embodying the title character in addition to playing supporting roles for the various scenes. Michel Moyse provides video projections and Alistair Follansbee stage manages.
Jon Mack, who manages the Hooker-Dunham schedule in addition to being part of the theater's company-in-residence, sees this work as a part of the the core mission for performing arts, and a continuation of activities like The Ghost Light Project.
"This isn't a send-up or SNL satire. Shoot the Moon presents Trump in all his jingoistic glory, simply by speaking his own devastating words," said Mack, who spent 15 years performing political theater in the East Village of New York City before relocating to Brattleboro. "So much is at stake in our current political reality. Crucial gains in building an open, democratic, inclusive society that responds to the needs of all its people, rather than the super wealth elite, are being reversed. It's exciting to present this politically committed work."
Moyse acknowledges the piece is more openly political than previous works, but notes that his studies at New York University included political science as his major area of study along with theater. He also says he has been inspired by the increased awareness he has witnessed among the younger people he works with at Shoot the Moon and teaches at the Windham Regional Career Center and Landmark College in the aftermath of the election.
"I usually don't want to make a frontal assault on an issue, but I am hoping this piece will mobilize people to do what they need to make a change in the world," Moyse says. "That doesn't necessarily mean going out and campaigning for politicians. It means looking within and taking action that is right for you and your world."
General admission is $12 and $10 for Brattleboro Museum and Art Center members. Reservations can be made in advance by calling 802-254-9276. The Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery is located at 139 Main Street in Brattleboro. For more information, visit hookerdunham.org
Shoot the Moon Theater Company is committed to bringing high-quality productions of original and contemporary works of theater to audiences in the region. The troupe's 2017 season began with Toshiki Okada's "The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise" and continued with a staged reading of "The Designated Mourner" by Wallace Shawn. The company's inaugural 2016 season included
"Venus in Fur" by David Ives; the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired original, "CAMEO"; and stage adaptations of stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe, entitled "7 by Poe" for it's traditional Halloween performance.
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