Thursday, November 3, 2016

reviews - THE TRUMP CARD - Stray Cat Theatre

Ron May
photo: John Groseclose
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 6th.

"...At the beginning of Stray Cat Theatre’s presentation of The Trump Card...Ron May as Mike Daisey immediately points out in no uncertain terms who’s to blame for the unbelievable political rise of a man like Donald Trump. We all are. When entertainment, reality TV, and the American political landscape are allowed to merge into one, we shouldn’t be surprised; we get what we deserve....“I may despise him,” Daisey tell us, “But he’s very good at his job.” For the following ninety minutes or so, Daisey explains why....convincingly delivers a cause and effect method explaining the hows and whys of Trump’s popularity....The play illustrates how, once you’ve switched off that part of your brain concerned with morals and ethics, it’s not altogether difficult to understand the allure of such a person as Trump. ...Much is laugh-out-loud funny...but the show’s most effective moments come when you suddenly realize it’s not funny. That’s the moment when the audience is stunned into silence, and it happens several times. Director Katie McFadzen...draws on that same single-performance energy and absorbs a surprising and unexpected liveliness out of May...When he talks of how he feels in the morning, wondering if he ate bad curry or drunk too much the night before, only to realize that his unsettled stomach is the result of remembering that Donald Trump is still running for President, it’s like watching a stand-up routine, and the audience responds accordingly. But it’s when he returns back to the table that substance arises, and that’s when you lean forward in your seat, glued to his every, persuasively presented word. You won’t always like what you hear....The script is edited to approximately ninety minutes by May, McFadzen and Mychal Anaya, and by doing this, the whole production feels considerably tighter, more contained and better structured. ... " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"In 2010, American monologist Mike Daisey gained fame and prominence with his one man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which traced the rise of Apple and Steve Jobs, our fascination with technology, and how many of these products are made in China under harsh work environments. Daisey's latest monologue, The Trump Card, is just as riveting as his earlier piece as it focuses on the rise of Donald Trump's political career. Stray Cat Theatre presents the Arizona premiere of Daisey's thought-provoking piece with an enthralling performance by Ron May.
...Daisey places the blame on where Trump is now, politically, on all of us. He says we all sat idly by in disbelief as Trump dipped his toe into the political water with his tirade on the legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate, and thought any chance of a political future for him was a joke. Daisey also makes it clear that no matter what happens next Tuesday, the repercussions of what Trump has accomplished will be felt for years. Maybe the next pied piper won't be orange, but he or she will have learned from Trump and perfected the catch phrases that stir some people to rise and follow them—people who have seemingly been forgotten by both parties. May, under the skilled direction of Katie McFadzen, delivers a firm and direct portrayal of Daisey. ..His tirades and rants never seem unrealistic and his ability to deliver some of Daisey's more personal stories with conviction and clarity makes it seem like he is not acting. ...May delivers the script's many jokes with ease and he also does a pretty good impression of Trump, though that is only a very small part of this piece, as well as solid impressions of Jeb Bush and even of Mark Burnett, the creator of "The Apprentice." Daisey has written a thought-provoking piece that will most likely stir up many feelings and might even make you want to rage about the predicament we are now in or have moments of outrage concerning the state of politics and how we are all a part of the problem. The interesting thing about the thoughts and feelings that Daisey manages to provoke in The Trump Card is that no matter your feelings on Trump, or the outcome of the election next week, we all will unfortunately be suffering from the ramifications of what Trump and all of us have created for years to come. -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

" Just to be clear, Stray Cat Theatre founder Ron May isn’t playing Donald Trump for 90 minutes in “The Trump Card”...Instead, the character he is playing is that of Mike Daisey, the monologue artist who created the piece and originally performed it...the writing and May’s delivery are both excellent: funny, provocative and ultimately depressing, at least if you buy into Daisey’s analysis of the Trump phenomenon. ..Obviously, this is an anti-Trump piece, but it is not simple partisan hackery. And May-as-Daisey reserves plenty of scorn for clueless liberals and diagnoses Trumpism as something more than just another bubbling over of America’s populist id." Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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