Last November, a group of — let’s call them “dissatisfied” — local actor-Americans made something of a stink when they produced an underground play called I’m Gonna Kill the President: A Federal Offense. The comedic political satire was written back in 2003 by a New York playwright who goes by the pseudonym Heironymous Bang and had originally been produced there during the Republican National Convention. It made a stink there, too, and although it didn’t do much to change the outcome of that election, droves of theatregoers hereabouts were more optimistic last November.
With good reason, it turns out. Still flush with what they consider a personal victory seven months ago, the nameless producers are having another go of it during Spoleto, this time apparently just for shits and giggles, with no election hanging in the balance. The conceit of the play, of course, is that threatening the life of POTUS is in fact a federal offense, punishable by all manner of government-sanctioned, habeas corpus-less nastiness, and previous producers of the play are doubtless on scores of Master Government Shit Lists. The criminal hitch, obviously, is that you gotta mean it. Which this gang most emphatically, for the record, does not.
“The Presidential Play,” as local producers obliquely refer to it, isn’t really a sendup of the current president, his administration, or even Republicans so much as it’s just a wildly funny, madcap escapade that follows a pair of incompetent anarchists across a landscape of government corruption, corporate hegemony, mass-market consumerism, the status quo, and a mainstream media in complete thrall to the almighty dollar. (On second thought, maybe it does have something against Republicans.)
Once again, flyers distributed around town announcing the play don’t provide a performance location, just a phone number. At last Saturday’s Cabaret Kiki gig, I recognized one of The Presidential Play’s original, and returning, actors — tipsy and talkative, as luck would have it — and buttonholed her for a quick chat. Take a listen: