Monday, August 18, 2008

"The Deciders" at the Fringe

On Saturday, I was asked by Tati Sena from the Fringe to videotape an event at the Fringe Festival after the show "The Deciders," a rock musical with a strong political message about the war in Iraq.

The Deciders web site proclaims: "Patriotism! Power! Paranoia? A driving rock score reveals in song and satire the secrets, dreams, motives and misinformation of those who make the decisions and those who live with the repercussions from the Washington Power Elite to Baghdad and beyond."

The event featured Cindy Sheehan who became a leading anti-war activist when her son Casey was killed. Her daughter Carly's poem "A
Nation Rocked to Sleep," was a key song in the production. Cindy and Carley met with the cast and audience at a reception room in the MIchael Shimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University after the show. Among the audience were some parents who had lost a child in the war.

Here is a photo from the The Deciders web site taken after the show.

[Saturday] The Deciders debut at The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University finished with the cast and band meeting Cindy and Carly Sheehan. A very special experience to also honor Cindy’s son and Carly’s brother Specialist Casey Sheehan killed April 4th 2004 in Sadr City and Carla Euphrates Kelly’s brother Sgt. Clarence LaVon Floyd killed December 10 2005 in Taji, Iraq. Both soldiers were awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor in combat. Pictured above from left to right is Mitch Kess, Carly and Cindy Sheehan with Carla and her parents.

Unfortnately, I couldn't get there in time to see the play. So, Sunday night we went back and saw it.
We ended up sitting directly behind Cindy and Carly, which made the play evenmore poignant as we noticed a tear or two wiped away.

George Bush - Dubya- played perfectly by Erik Hogan - comes up with a great idea to solve the war in Iraq: Turn the country back to Saddamn ( one of Saddam Hussein's doubles who took his place when the original Saddam died of cancer). (Don Imus suggested that many years ago.) The only problem is that Saddamn insists on having a musical (an updated version of Springtime for Hitler and Germany?) produced on Broadway. Dick Cheney (John Stillwagon) is not happy and manipulates strings on both Condi (the power voiced Carla Euphrates Kelly- who lost her brother in Iraq) and Dubya. The press (Fox) is skewered and the voices of Iraquis are heard through a fictional blogger. Cindy Sheehan (Amber Carson) belts out "The Devi's Place" and "Collateral Damage" loud and clear.

Heck, I'm not a reviewer, so check out Alyssa Simon's fabulous review at Theatre.Com posted at the Deciders web site.

There are 3 more performances: Tues 8/19 2:30, Thurs 8/21 5:30, Fri 8/22 8pm

Some backgound from the web site:
We’re so excited that Cindy got on the ballot in San Francisco and is celebrating with her daughter Carly with a weekend in NYC attending the August 16th premiere of The Deciders. Show creator, Mitch Kess, met Cindy Sheehan last summer during a rally in Union Square where the lyrics of her daughter Carly’s poem, “Nation Rocked to Sleep,” was heard for the first time put to music by Mitch Kess. Now a featured song in the production performed by Amber Carson.
Dubya “Tries” to give news conference New York - As Dubya begins to address the audience at The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, a group of protesters interrupt his speech with their songs “Free” and “A Nation Rocked to Sleep.” Even “Dick” and Condi couldn’t contain the rebels with keeping to the “talking points.” It seems Bush & Co. need to come up with some answers.

One more sidelight.

After the show I heard my name called. It was Linda, whose son Michael Ruocco, played Rooster in Annie at the Rockaway Theater Company in May. He played the judge and camerman. Brooklynite Michael, now 18, in his statment in the program says, "After being part of such a wonderful cast and crew his view on the war in Iraq has changed and he believes it will change for you as well." We're looking for some big things from Michael in the future.

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