Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

22 November 2006

All He Does Is Work All Day... Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Read two plays tonight after proofing my rough draft for tomorrow. One is David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, which I know I should have read forever ago, but I just got around to it. It was Andy's favorite play or favorite role or somesuch, too, and yet I never did read it. Anyway, it's alright. Not brilliant or anything, but pretty good and definitely bold. I didn't fall in love with it, but I definitely appreciated it.

And then I read David Hare's Stuff Happens, which is absolutely incendiary. I loved it. I had a ticket to the show, too, when it was at the Mark Taper and I didn't go. I just couldn't stand to deal with Bush on a free evening. This was during the time when I would get so furious at everything he said that I had to turn off the radio when he spoke. So I skipped out on Stuff Happens when I had the chance to see it. And now we're reading it for a class and I missed out on an opportunity to actually see a show we're talking about. It's really a shame when I look back, but even now as soon as Bush started to speak, the fury rises and I want to reach through the pages of the script and throttle some sense into him. The play is a portrait of corruption and war-mongering and horror, of course: a document of the lead-up to the Iraq war could be nothing else, really. It's superbly written. Colin Powell comes across as a saint, Tony Blair as a shrewd, honest politician who made a giant mistake but who had good intentions. Bush comes across as a milquetoast leader operating at the whims of whomever he's last spoken with. Cheney comes across as the devil incarnate and Rumsfeld as blabbermouth (he comes across that way in the press, too, so that's no shocker.) Condoleezza Rice is an enigma at the center of the play: she's the secret in Stuff Happens. You never really understand what she's up to and no one really trusts her except the president. It's the best-written role in the show. One of the best things about Stuff is the references to god and religion that permeate the script. Every time one occurs it is pointed up by David Hare and each one sears itself into my mind and makes me furious at this administration. God, Mr. Bush says, directed him to invade Iraq. That's absolutely insane.