Here’s a NYT Op-Ed that typifies the point of view of Americans who supported Hillary Clinton: “Tyranny of the Minority”.
Since Donald Trump’s cataclysmic election, the unthinkable has become ordinary. We’ve grown used to naked profiteering off the presidency, an administration that calls for the firing of private citizens for political dissent and nuclear diplomacy conducted via Twitter taunts.
“There’s this pattern that seems to repeat: Trump does something absolutely unacceptable, unethical, just the thing you could never imagine even the worst of our previous presidents doing,” Kurtz said. “There’s this wave of outrage — it happened after Charlottesville, it happened even before he was elected when he admitted to sexually assaulting women — and then it settles down and his base is still with him.”
Is there an artistic medium for dealing with cataclysmic and unthinkable events? Where naked profiteering can be just another character trait? Where sexual assault is part of an ordinary day at the office? Let’s consider Tosca. Scarpia, the Chief of Police, uses torture to root out a political dissenter. He uses his position of power and privilege to get sex out of Tosca.
Conclusion: only opera is big enough to handle the character of Donald Trump. I think that I will need readers’ help in fleshing out the action, but I am going to start…
Act I, Scene 1: United Chorus comes on stage singing “America the Beautiful.” Sixty percent wear blue shirts and forty percent wear red. Trump and Hillary enter stage right and stage left. Hillary and Trump sing over and in between the verses of “America the Beautiful,” gradually ruining the song. The chorus is pulled apart into two groups, sorted by shirt color, each one behind a candidate.
Act 1, Scene 2: Bill and Hillary at home. Hillary sings about her Christian faith and how an omnipotent and benevolent God has selected her to lead the American people. Bill quietly sings “A redhead at breakfast, a blonde at lunch, a brunette before dinner.” (will become known as “The Intern Song”; tune from Don Giovanni’s Madamina, il catalogo è questo). Every 2 minutes, a foreigner arrives to empty a wheelbarrow full of cash for the Clinton Foundation.
Act 1, Scene 3: Debate. Trump repeatedly chants “Build the Wall.” Hillary sings a complex and hard-to-hear ballad about gender equality, foreign policy, fair government-determined pay rates, and higher taxes for the rich.
Act 1, Scene 4: Election Night. Stage divided by a wall in the middle. Right side depicts inside the Trump campaign headquarters; left side shows Hillary’s HQ. Hillary sings “New Drapes,” about her redecoration plans for the White House. Trump sings “It’s all Rigged.” Towards the end of the scene, Hillary, drawing on the profound Christian faith expressed in Scene 2, laments that God has forsaken her: “Oh why does Donald Trump have a friend in Jesus?”
Act 2, Scene 1: A derelict warehouse. Used syringes and trash litter the floor. Warm humid mold-containing air piped into the opera house to stifle the audience. Signage reading “JFK International Arrivals.” Trump tries to push passengers with headgear back into the jet bridges while singing “Your goats and camels are lonely at home” (tune lifted from Di Provenza il mar, il suol chi dal cor ti cancellò, Germont’s sentimental song about “the sea and soil of Provence” in La Traviata). Stage left: Tropical courthouse in Hawaii. Judge in the courthouse, with Hillary silently standing behind him, pulls the arriving passengers past Trump via long strings. Back of the stage: Canadian flag and Justin Trudeau standing next to it singing “You’re all welcome in Canada.”
Act 2, Scene 2: Chorus back on stage, a mixture of red and blue, once again united, singing “River of cash, keep flowing.” Chorus members cycle through the Social Security office to pick up SSDI checks, the physician’s office to get OxyContin prescriptions, and the pharmacy to pick up their Oxy, handing over their $3 Medicaid co-pay. Trump and Congress at the front of the stage. Trump sings “Repeal Obamacare” and Congress responds with “We will, we will!” This is repeated for a couple of hours, Robert Wilson-style, while the river of cash keeps flowing (enters at top left of stage and disappears into a pit marked “hospital” in the center) and the chorus keeps getting their OxyContin bottles. Just before the curtain comes down, a lone figure in a purple shirt labeled “Libertarian” comes on stage, the cash river falters, and the lone figure sings “Why would you vote to spend one day out of every five working to pay for your health care?”
Act 2, Scene 3: Stage split up into thirds: San Francisco Bay Area, Harvard University, New York Times editorial board. All singers unite in a chorus of “We’re so smart; why doesn’t he listen to us?” Hillary scolds from the balcony.
Act 2, Scene 4: Synagogue. Trump wears a kippah and, accompanied by Jewish family members, attempts to walk into Rosh Hashanah services while singing “Oh what a friend we have in Yahweh”. The family is blocked by chorus holding up signs condemning Trump’s anti-Semitism. Standoff until clock chimes 12 and protesters rush to the other side of the stage for an anti-Israel rally (signs flipped around to condemn Israeli apartheid system).
Act 2, Scene 5: White House. Stage left: Beautiful Melania sings sweet soprano lullaby to angelic Barron. Center: Aides attack each other with knives. Stage right: Trump sits on solid gold toilet holding Android phone and singing out a succession of Tweets.
Act 3: *** this is where I need reader help ***
Grand Finale: House lights down. Orchestra pit, previously completely hidden from audience, is raised by hydraulics until it is higher than the stage. In the darkness, the conductor turns around to face the audience. Spotlights on the raised orchestra pit. Audience sees that all musicians and the conductor are wearing Vladimir Putin masks. The curtain falls and the hall is plunged into darkness.
Readers: What did I miss? What goes into Act 3?