Politics and Theater (14 cents)

We just got back from the matinee of Caryl Churchill’s “Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?” at the Forum Theatre on H Street.  This is a one act, 45 minute, two character, one piece of furniture play that, for a company wanting to conserve financial resources, will not strain the coffers.  But, unfortunately, I don’t think that it is a play or production that will increase the reputation of, or attendance at, this first rate Washington non-profit theatre.

The topic is the international bullying of the United States, at the expense (both in terms of loss of life and economic loss) of the rest of the world.  The United States is personified in the person of “Sam” (naturally, from Uncle Sam), an aggressive and arrogant sort (who does not know he is either, and really is only looking for self protection, and for love); the other character (named “Guy”) is not identified as being of any nationality, but he has an English accent, Churchill is English, and the play was originally performed in London, in 2006, where “Guy” was apparently  named “Jack” (from the Union Jack, the British flag) and was believed to be representative of how the British were kow-towing to the United States (actually in love with the United States) even though Guy, or Jack, had increasing reservations about what was going on.  Sort of a love/hate relationship, and sort of an abusive love relationship.

Guy leaves his family to become the follower and accolyte of Sam, and the entire play is Sam talking about how he is bombing people, exploiting people, torturing people, etc., and while Guy is either saying “Yes, yes, I’m with you, this is so much fun”, or “Well, I don’t know, it doesn’t sound quite right, but, yes, yes, I am with you.”

Although the play has generally been well reviewed, to me, as one of the London reviewers said, this is a 45 minute play that is about 20 minutes too long.

For a playwright with the talent and experience that Churchill has, this play to me is extremely adolescent in every respect.  When she wrote the play, she was focusing on the continuing Tony Blair/George Bush relationship, apparently.  Now, with the collapse of the economy and the other problems facing the United States, it has more of a “chickens coming home to roost” quality about it.

But it is a someone tedious play, even if well acted, and not one that I think worthy of producing.


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