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Theatre Review: The Mueller Report-Based ‘The Investigation: A Search for Truth’

The Church Report

Well, it didn’t take long! Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report was made public on April 18, 2019 and by June 24, 2019 we had a “play” about it! Eighteen notable actors—including John Lithgow, Annette Bening, and Kevin Kline—took the stage at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, and offered an hour-long reading of the Mueller report, entitled The Investigation: A Search for Truth, a title that forces one to sing “Dah-dah-daaahhh” after saying it.

Obviously, it would take way more than an hour to read the 400+ pages of the Mueller report. However, playwright Robert Schankken efficiently cut out most of the report—including the large portion that found no collusion committed by President Donald Trump or anyone on his campaign staff—focusing instead on the obstruction of justice section, which Mueller apparently was unsure about.  Schankken himself is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, whose most recent piece before The Investigation(Dah-dah-daaahhh!) was Building the Wall, a May 2017 play about “life in the Donald Trump era.”  I’ve yet to figure out how a President can define an “era” just five months into his administration.

On Theatre the Left Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Choosing where to submit one’s plays is often a daunting task, but no more so than for the conservative playwright. Given that 99.9% of the country’s theatre companies – professional or community — lean to the left (let’s be honest: they dive headfirst into the left), the conservative playwright often has nowhere to turn. Even companies that call for plays in the most benign sense (“seeking full-length plays about American life in 2019”) most often have a leftwing agenda. I imagine the artistic directors of such companies express shock that a conservative-themed play has been sent to them, let alone that there is such a thing as a conservative-themed play.

On Conservative Theatre: ‘Something from Nothing’

Ironically, for a man that loves theatre, I am not a huge fan of the Broadway Channel on Sirius XM.  Part of it is that I cannot stand most contemporary musicals (it’s only selections from musicals featured on the Broadway Channel) and so I cringe whenever I hear the vapid, pop-culture noise that makes up the score of many of today’s musical theatre offerings.  I find myself quickly switching channels to talk radio or a ball game whenever something dumb like the score of Next to Normal comes on. I do find myself, however, listening to any of the wonderful offerings of Frank Loesser, Lerner and Loewe, Kander and Ebb, the Gershwins, Sondheim, and so on. What, I wonder, has happened to our musical theatre heritage that we have gone from “Some enchanted evening/You may see a stranger” to “I’m alive, I’m alive, I am so alive”? I think a lot of it has to do with the cheapening and lack of intellectual rigor in American culture, brought about in no small part by lousy television writing and the desire to keep from thinking critically and for instant gratification.

Don’t Call Us; We’ll Have Sex with You

The state of modern playwriting is in a shambles and I blame the Left.  Who else is there to blame? The Right has been shut out of the arts by design, so our representation is extremely limited: there’s not enough of us to create the state of contemporary playwriting badness.  On the rare occasion that that conservative playwright actually submits a play, the hegemonic Left rejects it using two excuses with equal vigor: 1) The plays written by conservatives are mean, nasty, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, and, of course, white supremacist, and therefore cannot be staged or 2) The plays themselves, despite being all of the above, are not technically proficient, and therefore cannot be staged. The latter is the “professional” excuse; the former is what they’re really thinking.  This leaves the conservative playwright with little hope of being noticed, let alone respected

Just What is Conservative Theatre Anyway?

I’m delighted to share my thoughts about conservative theatre with Liberty Island.

As the founder and president of Stage Right Theatrics—the country’s only conservative theatre company—you’d think I’d have a pretty firm grip on just what “conservative theatre” means. Well, I’ve got a grip on it, but I often feel as though I’m holding onto something that’s been thoroughly greased. That’s because the concept of a “conservative theatre” is, in my mind, still evolving. Its definition has expanded over time as I have given it more thought and read/produced more plays, but it is still very much a work in progress.  Here’s where I’m at with it now.

Ohio Premiere of Controversial Pro-Police Play Needs Your Help!

Stage Right Theatrics, the country’s only conservative theatre company, is staging the Ohio premiere of Phelim McAleer’s controversial play Ferguson: Truth Matters. The production runs from July 13-15 at the Shedd Theatre in Columbus, Ohio.

Ferguson: Truth Matters dramatizes the actual grand jury testimony from the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. All dialogue in the play is taken verbatim from the grand jury testimony of November 2014 and presents exactly what the grand jury heard, leading to the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.