Thursday, June 16, 2016

OBAMA-OLOGY: The One (Again)

I was asked to write some author notes for the American premiere of OBAMA-OLOGY at Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. I revised the notes I made for RADA when this play opened in London last spring. 

Our culture has a messianic fixation on ‘the one.’ That’s who Barack Obama was in 2008: not a presidential candidate, not a junior Senator Illinois. He was ‘the one.’ In my past I have been held that token position. I have been saddled and paraded out with impossible expectations that traded my humanity for symbols of someone else’s virtue. Being ‘the one’ is a terribly fraught because even the slightest setback seems to not only reflect poorly on your entire race, but enrages your so-called supporters who feel as if they have been morally betrayed, while delighting your detractors who feel as if their bigotry has been vindicated. It is a perversion of tokenism where a person becomes fetishized into statue, a robot, a slogan. After eight years, the Obama presidency has very little to do with his actual accomplishments. It is a national Rorschach test of our vices and virtues. Who do we think we are as Americans and how do we see ourselves reflected in the one.  OBAMA-OLOGY is about that strange ‘oneness’ that can drive a person crazy, incite an act of heroism, disintegrate familial ties, win an election, re-arrange a character’s DNA, and change our destiny. 

OBAMA-OLOGY opens July 19th. For tickets see Skylight Theatre's website:

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