is a real satire, as sobering and frightening
as it is savagely funny." -L.A. Weekly PICK OF THE WEEK!
electoral wake-up call." -L.A. Times CRITIC'S CHOICE!
ARE BEING LIED TO.
Written & Directed
By Joe Jordan
on Rik Keller's
THROUGH ELECTION DAY!
September 9 - November 2, 2004
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm
plus Mon-Tues, Nov. 1-2 @ 8pm
Reservations: (310) 281-8337
Discount Tickets Online for just $15!
Sept. 17 - a panel discussion and
reception w/cast & crew will
and help Dubya restore
dignity and respect to
Sacred Fools this Fall!
performance, moderated by BackStage
West's Jenelle Riley.
agent and single mother - widowed in 9/11 - finds
herself ensnarled in a dark web of secrets concerning the highest
leaders in the land. Meanwhile, her bright but troubled teenage son is
lead down a dark path by a media-savvy man with sinister designs.
As the governor of California sets to bring a
message of peace to his people, The First Family and their minions make desperate
plans to secure their continued power at any cost, and thereby fulfill
the grand design that they and their demonic overlord have been working for years to accomplish.
And the Olsen Twins are getting married.
DUBYA 2004: TAKING THE TERROR
ALERT TO RED
on any picture to see a larger version
Bob, et al
Pickles, et al
Principal, et al
Ghost of JFK, et al
Troy Joe Vincent
David LM Mcintyre
Lisa Anne Nicolai
Ghost of JFK, et al
Mark McClain Wilson
Assistant Stage Manager
|| John Mitchell
Mark McClain Wilson
Mark Tapio Kines
|| Adam Bitterman
Elizabeth Barnes Keener
Lisa Anne Nicolai
It's a second term for `Dubya'
The ambitious sequel provokes and amuses before ending on a serious note,
issuing a direct challenge to audience members.
Ominous accents spur the mania of "Dubya 2004" at Sacred Fools. One moves through a patriotically crammed lobby past scary G-men who case a space
remade as conventioneer's nightmare.
Carlos Fedos' Old Glory set surrounds a tower of televised babble that spews
campaign stumps, newscast shills, 9/11 images and more. Mark McClain Wilson's sound lurches from Sousa to remixed national anthem, Orwellian
slogans flash and a party smoker of diabolical scope begins.
After two-plus hours of unbridled provocation, it ends in sobriety, with a
direct challenge to the viewer.
For all its scabrous tabloid vulgarity, this ambitious sequel to "Dubya
2000" goes where Kitty Kelley fears to tread. Its valid core questions counter the puerile excesses of
writer-director Joe Jordan's shameless, Air America Radio-meets-National Lampoon approach.
Conor Duffy is a riotous title figurehead, Troy Joe Vincent and Alicia Wollerton his outrageous parents.
The "24"-flavored cover-up narrative gains credibility via Jenette Goldstein's FBI widow, David Huynh's son, Jacob Sidney's dog-wagger and
Assaf Cohen's terrorist.
David LM Mcintyre's Florida governor goes beyond outré, but he hijacks the
house. Tom Kiesche's California counterpart and the Olsen twins of Shannon
Tesser and Emily Marver steal it back.
Lisa Anne Nicolai's sequestered first lady, Yvonne Fisher's Camelot link, Jennifer France's campaign sorceress and Frank Stasio's Secret Service
replicant are no less insidious. Aldrich Allen, Kathi Copeland and Eric Johnson complete a fearless ensemble.
The ace designers include Kate Morrison (lights), Cynthia Herteg (costumes),
Maxx Gillman (videos) and Hans Gelpke (props), and musical director Eric Layer rocks out. So does this dark cautionary in cartoon camouflage. Its
agitprop agents turn full-frontal satire into an electoral wake-up call.
-- David C.
Weekly (Pick of the Week!)
Writer-director Joe Jordan’s sequel to Rik Keller’s Dubya 2000, the bracing political satire staged four years ago by this same company, has all the bite of the original, if a bit less focus. On the eve of the ’04 presidential election, members of the Bush clan are still agents of the devil (He Who Shall Not Be Named — He Who for short), and they’re summoning up all their forces of darkness to retain power and unseat the Dems for good. Those forces include a bizarre satanic ritual involving a prophesying baby head and an elaborate plot to murder Maggie Sparrow
(Jenette Goldstein), an FBI agent who lost her husband in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and is determined to find out the truth about what American government officials knew about the attacks and when they knew it. That’s the most serious side of a show that is otherwise deliriously irreverent of all things Bush and Republican (and a few things Democratic); the most inspired moments — and there are many — include a thoroughly whacked-out Jeb Bush, here called Idiot Evil (David LM McIntyre) and a trash can, thundering like a cross between Oscar the Grouch and the Wizard of Oz, that makes a grand appearance as He Who. But don’t let the general zaniness fool you — “Dubya” is a real satire, as sobering and frightening as it is savagely funny. It isn’t easy to parody the Bush gang anymore, but Sacred Fools does that, and then has the heart left to encourage the audience to get out and vote. It’s a bit of agitprop that, by the end of this horror show, you don’t mind getting. The set of TV monitors by Carlos Fedos and the live rock band, hidden from view, nicely circumscribe the chaos.
-- Erin Aubry
Can politics be as outrageously brutal as the political satire that tries to define it? With George W. (pronounced Dubya) gearing up for four more years, the entire Bush family--in league with monsters from hell--prepares for victory. The presidency is only one of the trophies sought in its diabolical plans, or so it is told in the world premiere of writer/director Joe Jordan's follow-up to Rik Keller's spoof, Dubya 2000.
With 18 actors playing approximately 45 characters, this lampoon covers not only the Bush family but also a few Kennedys, the governors of Florida (an over-the-top David LM Mcintyre) and California (Tom Kiesche in a fun caricature), and an ex-prez (Troy Joe Vincent) and his Barr (Alicia Wollerton). Thrown in are a set of twin teenage assassins (the delightful duo of Shannon Tesser and Emily Marver), the man who decides what news we hear and see (a smoothly ominous Jacob Sidney), and Dubya (Conor Duffy) himself, who's just realizing things are going on that may not be the nicest entries for history to record. Tying burlesque to reality is a widowed FBI agent (Jenette Goldstein) on the trail of truth. She and her teenage son (David Huynh) get swept up in a storm of intrigue, espionage, and danger.
Jordan tinges this multistyled, cluttered, and somewhat clumsy piece with dark melodrama, sheer buffoonery, college camp, gross-out shtick, and even touches of some pleasantly surprising profundity. The script, like the performances, hit everything from the bull's-eye to all the concentric circles running outward and off the board. An extremely likeable Duffy offers up a Dubya who is authentically dumb, pouty, and almost forgivable. Goldstein and Huynh, functioning exclusively in the dark reaches of the tale, do fine work. Goldstein makes a fiery hero, and the disarming Huynh presents all the emotional confusion of today's youth. Music director Eric Layer and Weston Hudson's rock snippets before, during, and after scenes are a big plus, as is Carlos Fedos' patriotic set of stars and stripes and a mountain of functioning TVs.
of a Satanic Right?
The zombified corpse of Ronald Reagan replacing Dick Cheney on the GOP ticket? Laura Bush reading to the ghosts of Iraqi children? Recent cultural media depicts the
conservatives in an occultish light.
Did John Kerry fight not only Viet, but Vampire Cong in the Mekong Delta? Is the GOP considering replacing Dick Cheney on the ticket with the zombified corpse of Ronald Reagan? Is the Bush family, along with Martha Stewart, embroiled in a satanic plot to take over the world?
Recently, artists in various media have taken to casting the foes of the Democratic party as monsters. Literally. With so many voters dismissing the Democrats as the lesser of two evils, these characterizations call Republicans the much, much more evil of two evils, – think Barbara Bush (the elder) pulling a baby's head out of a gory sheep bladder – as if to say to conservatives, "You think we're godless and immoral? Well, you worship Satan!"
One of the milder portraits of the "Satanic Right" is in the Image Comics series, Sword of Dracula, which concerns a government agency that hunts vampires. The current issue (#5) includes a brief scene with a courageous swift boat captain helping to track Dracula himself in Vietnam, circa 1968. The soldier is only identified as a lieutenant who once chased on foot a Viet Cong fighter who had fired on his boat with a rocket launcher, but series creator Jason Henderson acknowledges the character's identity.
"I chose [Sen. John] Kerry because Sword of Dracula is about what good can be done when many nations work together – the heroes of the comic are a multinational force," said Henderson. "Kerry's message of strength through multinational respect and co-operation fit well with that."
GOP supporters are unimpressed by this latest account of Kerry's tour of duty (which one might argue is at least as truthful as that in the "swift boat" ads). Audrey Mullen, a partner at Republican public relations firm Advocacy Ink in Washington, D.C., says, "I don't know anyone on the right who has the spare time to indulge in [comic books], but maybe this is how Democrats reach their base. We, on the other hand, have National Review."
Henderson, however, denies that Kerry's appearance is a political statement. "The Republicans aren't evil. John McCain is a righteous man. George W. Bush is a righteous man," he said, although he did let slip that "My hope is that with the next story arc, Kerry will return as the president."
Earlier this summer, Greg Knauss, a 36-year-old computer programmer who is married to a Republican, put up a website devoted to a presidential ticket of Bush and "Zombie Reagan." Not only does the site make merciless fun of the dead, it describes the late president as "a lumbering, flesh-eating corpse" who will replace Dick Cheney because of the current vice president's need to devote more time to bathing "in the blood of virgins."
According to the site, "Zombie Reagan... no longer needs to sleep and can withstand any wound save the complete destruction of his head. By way of example, Zombie Reagan would have been able to shrug off his 1981 assassination attempt and eat his attacker. He and President Bush enjoy clearing brush together."
The site has received more than 400,000 hits, most of which came during its first week online, and its content has been widely circulated on the Internet. It was popular enough to spawn a related product line (mugs, T-shirts, hats and the like) and to inspire dozens of visitors to offer campaign slogans such as "Zombie Reagan – Still Less Evil Than Cheney," "Putting the Voodoo Back in Voodoo Economics."
With the buzz generated by the site, Knauss expected a storm of criticism. It never materialized. "I mean, geez, what does it take to enrage people these days?" he complains. "Here I am, poking a recently passed icon of conservatism with a sharp stick and nobody threatens to kill me? I thought these were polarized, overly serious times!"
Not everyone is amused, however. "That's just disrespectful," says Bobby Eberle, president of GOPUSA.com, a conservative news site boasting 300,000 subscribers. "Mocking the memory of a former president who was beloved around the country, that's juvenile and in poor taste." The site is inactive now because Knauss felt that the joke had run its course. And profits from the product line benefit the Alzheimer's Foundation. "It's my atonement for being a bastard," he says.
Meanwhile at the Sacred Fools Theatre in Los Angeles, where a new play, "Dubya 2004," begins its run in mid-September, there are no such reservations about attacking conservatives with any weapons at hand, theatrically speaking. "I think of it as shock therapy," says actor and associate producer Jacob Sidney.
"Dubya 2004" depicts two supernatural, warring clans – the Bushes and the Kennedys – battling not for the soul, but control of America. In the play, the Bushes have gained the upper hand through their dealings with a diabolic figure known only as "He Who Shall Not Be Named." Their end of the bargain includes bloody rituals, sacrifices and murder plots."How the hell else do you get George W. Bush elected if you're not in league with Satan?" asks Sidney.
David L.M. Mcintyre, one of the theater's three artistic directors, says that calling the leaders of what some consider God's Only Party the opposite of what they claim to be is cathartic: "The past four years have generated a lot of confusion, but also rage. [So, since this] administration has been vocally pro-Christian and espousing a 'What would Jesus do?' method of government while corrupting the systems we cherish about our country... to criticize that in a mildly petulant tone, it's an outlet."
The play is a sequel to one of the theater's best-known works, "Dubya 2000," written and directed by Rik Keller four years ago. "2000" was in part inspired by Keller's fascination with George W. Bush's membership in the quasi-occult secret society, Skull and Bones. According to Joe Jordan, the writer and director of "Dubya 2004," the new play is intended to cast a wider net.
"The attacks in this play are not partisan," insists Morrissey-lookalike Jordan. "The Bushes are attacked not because they're Republican, but because they're in power. [In the play] the Kennedys have their own malevolent designs on reclaiming the power they once had. Everyone is suspect."
Crystal Keith, another associate producer of "Dubya 2004," says this kind of absurdist agitprop "demands a response. Even if you're completely on board with the Bush agenda, you can't help but respond to shocking allegations in some way. And that is on some level going to force you to reconsider your assumptions."
But Trudy Thomas, district manager for a Californian government office, finds such mockery disturbing. "This shows hatred for faith, for everything we stand for as Americans," she says. "It's part and parcel with the Michael Moore bunch. There's nothing wrong with the fact that President Bush and President Reagan's faith animates everything they do. They have a responsibility to God, and along with that comes a responsibility to the people they're elected to serve."
Not that conservatives have exactly been shy with the pejoratives. Top commentators on the right have long branded liberals appeasers of evil, or accessories to evil, or accessorizers of evil, or something. In treason-spotter Ann Coulter's January review of big Sean Hannity's "Deliver Us From Evil," she wrote, "The leaders of the modern Democratic Party, Hannity says, have made excuses for evil for so long that they cannot recognize evil anymore... of course, they recognize evil in the person of George W. Bush.... In fact, Bush may be the only force of evil in the world liberals haven't wanted to appease." So as the discourse remains mired at the level of "liar liar pants on fire," do these occult accusations bring anything to the debate? Perhaps the most piquant recent occult comparisons have come in more subtle and complex (and sometimes unintentional) shades.
M. Night Shyamalan's film "The Village" concerns a quaint wooded town in which life is just peachy – unless you happen to wear red or wander into the forest, in which case horrible monsters will treat you like a child-proof bottle in Rush Limbaugh's house. (Warning: Spoiler alert) It turns out that the creatures are a ruse put on by the village elders to preserve the town's idyllic way of life and keep its denizens in a suspended state of innocence. Shyamalan has said that his film carries no political message, so any parallel to any other society's use of color-coded alerts and shadowy threats to control the populace is purely coincidental.
Another, more chilling approach was on display during the Republican National Convention when Oscar-winner Holly Hunter and others put on a staged reading in New York City of two brief scenes by everything-award-winner Tony Kushner ("Angels in America") that hinge on First Lady Laura Bush's encounter with the ghosts of Iraqi children.
The first scene, "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy," was published in The Nation last year as the war began. In it, the kind, caring Ms. Bush sits down with kids killed by American military actions to read them some Dosteyevsky. "So you are the first Iraqi children I've met and you look real sweet in your PJs. And I'm sorry you're dead, but all children love books," she tells them.
Kushner's vignette offers by far the sharpest and deepest-cutting commentary of all those listed here, ominously acknowledging American guilt ("We'll pay for your deaths one way or another. He just hates it when I say that, my husband, it's not in his nature to think that way," says the fictional Laura) and blithely describing the kill-first mentality of our leaders ("If my husband had been in charge back then Dostoyevsky would've been dead for sure – my husband, he executed everyone they told him to, everyone they let him, I should say.").
All the while, Kushner manages to humanize Ms. Bush, hinting that she's an unfortunate person trapped in a nightmare – sort of similar to the approach taken by "Dubya 2004." The scene ends with a shattering moment: The quiet acknowledgement that, despite the human costs, the human beings with doubts like hers will stay the course. This relatively soft prodding of audiences' minds and hearts may be the most forceful of all.
It remains to be seen whether these tales from the crypt will have any impact beyond momentary amusement. In the meantime, liberals will continue to ignore Kerry's disturbing resemblance to Frankenstein's monster and conservatives will deny that Dick Cheney is actually a malevolent robot hammered together in Karl Rove's workshop.
-- Michael Ordoña
"Dubya 2004" brings devilishly political theater to Hollywood
The most powerful political family in America is actually a pawn of the devil.
Maybe, maybe not. But that idea is the basis behind "Dubya 2004," a new play that begins its run Sept. 9 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood.
"Dubya 2004" centers on a female FBI agent - a Sept. 11 widow - who is trying to find the truth behind the shady, underhanded dealings of the first family, a family controlled by the devil.
"What drives the action is the first family, their relationship and their desire to get elected for four more years," said Adam Bitterman, the show's executive producer. "Their desire to implement their master's plan."
Written and directed by Sacred Fools regular Joe Jordan, the play is loosely based on the Bush political dynasty and features appearances by Arnie, the governor of California who happens to be a former movie star who speaks with a thick accent and 18-year-old twins who also are servants of the devil.
"We are poking fun at everyone," Bitterman said.
"Dubya 2004" is a sequel to "Dubya 2000," a critically acclaimed piece that ran around the time of the last presidential election. That play, written by Rik Keller, also featured the first family as a servant of the devil.
"You can't write anything funnier than the truth," Bitterman said.
Although clear comparisons could be made with the characters in the play and real life, Bitterman said it was written merely as a satire.
"We're never trying to pass this off as a documentary," Bitterman said. "This isn't 'Fahrenheit 9/11.'"
That does not mean there are not serious undertones. There will be voter registration forms in the lobby and, on Sept. 11, the proceeds from the show will go to charity, Bitterman said.
Hopefully, it can produce some sort of change, associate producer Aaron Francis said.
"Even Dubya himself comes to the realization that he is doing bad, because he is a puppet, and he is too dumb to realize what's going on," Francis said.