Dick Tarlow and co-author Bill Smith have come up with an interesting premise in The Trial of An American President: What If? Opening at The Lion Theatre tonight on Theatre Row, this show is timely and perfect for the political junkies out there. This tale of woe is well timed.
In a “What If” world, we have landed in the Hague where Narrator (Mahira Kakkar), speaks on behalf of the U.N.’s International Criminal Court (ICC) and the people of Iraq. former President George W. Bush (Tony Carlin) has agreed to stand on trial for his 2003 invasion of Iraq. Bush believing his innocents stands on his faith in God and the Bible, choosing to representing himself. He defends his conviction of democracy and his use of the military. His credence of war and the act of it borders on righteous martyrdom.
As Bush sits on a leather chair a Prosecutor (Michael Rogers), hammers relentlessly at the ex-president over the course of three days. Accusations fly as names like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are mentioned again and again, as well as weapons of mass destruction, terrorists attacks, al Qaeda, Blackwater, the bombing of Fallujah with the massive slaughter of innocents and the waterboarding at Abu Ghraib. His cronies Cheney, Kerry and Rumsfeld all come into play. This is history repeating itself and it gets to be in a strange way overwhelming knowing where ISIS steamed from.
Video and still projections (produced and edited by Philip Coccioletti and Sugarcamp Productions; designed by Kevan Loney), include real life footage and victims (played by actors), speaking out.
In the end of it all nine members of the audience were chosen to vote. In my night the vote was cast 7-2 in favor of guilty. Shockingly 2 people thought he was innocent.
Mr. Carlin, is a believable Bush, complete with accent and deer in headlights look. Mr. Rogers, is authoritative and demanding, driving hime the point. Ms. Kakkar is perfect as the Narrator, choses soothing voice adds just the facts in a no nonsense tone. They are all perfectly cast.
Stephen Eich’s direction drives the point home, though at times it becomes monotonous.
The Trial of an American President shows history is beset by military blunders and America’s decision to invade Iraq is high on that list. It is a shame leaders have yet to learn from the mistakes of others.
The Trial of An American President: What If?: Lion Theatre, 410 West 42nd St. through Oct. 15th.