This is a show that Gary has wanted to perform for some time, and as you can see from the photos above, he looks a great deal like Harry Truman! We have historically produced two-character works for the Lake Effect Fringe Festival, but this seemed like a good year to deviate from that norm. So, I am tasked with the unenviable job of directing Gary - who needs no direction! I usually take on the props and costumes and he handles sound and lights. He has come up with some nice sound effects and evocative photos for projections that will add context for modern audiences. Costumes has been an easy job, since he owns several double breasted suits and vintage hats and, I might add, looks very dapper in them! Harry S. Truman owned a haberdashery before he became involved in politics, and was a snappy dresser.
When we first read the play last fall, I was impressed by how much Harry Truman's philosophy still resonates today. He is remembered for dropping the bomb on Japan that ended WWII, and for trying to establish a peacetime footing in the U.S. in the wake of the war and the death of FDR. But his feelings on the distribution of wealth in this country, the importance of a free press, racism, and civil rights still ring out loud and clear. The issues of the past still resonate today.
For example: "I've always felt there was enough for everybody in this country if the vested few could just get it out of their heads that all benefits ought to filter downward."
"I feel about the press the same way Thomas Jefferson did. If I had to choose between no government and no press, I would choose the former every time."
"You know the Ku Klux Klan was a real power in my part of the country. They were a rough bunch. Of course, they were only rough when they were in a bunch. They were racists, and their philosophy was the ultimate in vulgarity."
And in reference to Senator Joseph McCarthy: "These fanatics are using a technique developed by one of the worst criminals in the world's history, a man named Adolf Hitler. It's a technique known as the big lie. You tell a lie so monstrous that it staggers the listener, and then you repeat it over and over again until it's finally accepted as the truth." ..."it's just as easy, for a Communist to deceive a Republican as it is for a Communist to deceive a Democrat."
And here's some final food for thought: "...dictatorship? The only way it can happen would be if we had a liar in public office. And I'll tell you, there's nothing more dangerous on this earth than a liar in public office because the people might believe him. And if the folks ever catch him, they should show him just about the amount of compassion that he showed the Constitution."
We hope you'll join us at the Dog Story Theater, February 22 -24.
Mary Beth Quillin