The Possession of Donald Trump (2017)
The show was structured around a séance wherein the audience could put their ideas/policies/instructions into Trump’s mind. The twist being that, during my own self-righteous attempt to impersonate Trump, I too end up becoming a monster.
The show began with a Black Rider (played by Cormac Donnelly) interviewing people and recording their answers. The questions were: “What do you think of Trump?” and “How would you feel if he was assassinated?”. Meanwhile, Mitzi, playing the role of magician’s assistant, collected submissions for putting into Trump’s mind.
The show began with two stories written on cheese. The first was a fable about a toad being voted king of the ants. The second was the same fable but with real names exchanged (Toad = Trump, Ants = Americans), and this was read by four audience members after their cut themselves a slice.
For my first trick, the readers look under their tables to find cheesegraters stuck there. They are asked to “make America grate again”.
Four Hails followed, one to each of Trump’s central advisors, before a magic circle is drawn and the cheese is used baptize my prone body. Mitzi reads the final incantation before waterboarding me with orange paint. I rise as Trump and take the stage.
On stage I read a speech from a lectern in the manner of Trump, slowly inserting audience suggestions into the speech. The speech begins going wrong, I argue with Mitzi, the show appears to fail and I start to storm out. Just as I leave the stage, the Black Rider runs in and mows me down with a toy machine gun. Mitzi comes to rescue me.
The lights go down and the audience’s comments from the start play back over the speakers. They have been remixed by Cormac and now sound as if they are directed at me, Joe, the arrogant performer.
As the lights go up I am too injured to read the final poem, so Mitzi takes the stage to do so. The poem is about unappreciated artists. If I had read the poem it would have been pompous, but as the put-upon Mitzi reads it it becomes accurate to her character. The play ends.
The show ends with a song.
[Poster by Rhiannon Ellison]