BRATTLEBORO >> If, by the nature of its title, you come to this show expecting to see Donald Trump filleted, you won't. You will, however, be heartily laughing at the ridiculousness of events in this year's election in humorist/ performer Seth Lepore's solo performance of an adapted version of Mike Daisey's "Trump Card." Lepore has over 20 years of solo shows under his belt, but he has honed in on them over the last six years, averaging a new show a year. Three of those shows he brought to the Hooker-Dunham Theater including "Losing My Religion: Confessions of a New Age Refugee," "SuperHappyMelancholyexpialidocious" and "Firecracker Bye Bye." He currently tours the audience-driven "Kickin' Ass" and "Takin' Names," an interactive and completely improvised character-based show based on suggestions written on index cards by the audience pre-show.
When Lepore heard about Mike Daisey — one of his favorite performers and writers — was offering the "Trump Card" script in an adaptable open source he jumped on it. Daisey started his research way back when all of the candidates began vying for the nomination, but he had a hunch about Trump. Daisey did a lot digging into Trump's history and interviews with people who knew Trump, and he continues to add changes as new things crop up.
Lepore said it is brilliantly written, how Daisey created the thread. Lepore is keeping the bones and context but folds his own personal story into the mix, threading in the political quagmires of his home state of Rhode Island. From the love/hate relationship the people of Providence had with Mayor Buddy Cianci, to Lepore's second cousin switching from Catholic priest to Mayor of his home town, Lepore conveys how the cult of personality is nothing new. How, in fact, Trump's timing couldn't be better... for the worse. He said he has never seen anything like this in an election in terms of a high profile celebrity running for president (well, there was Ronald Reagan of course, but he had gubernatorial experience). People admire celebrities on a different level, almost as if they aren't human.
In "Trump Card" the audience learns how Trump got to where he is, and how we got him there, through humor and playful jabs at not only himself but everyone in the audience, it is satirical without being a parody. As scary as Trump is, Lepore reveals the parallels in our lives and how any one of us could turn into him. The threat of the power he has to affect us is amazing, and we need to open our eyes to that ability. The premiere show a couple of weeks ago had the audience laughing the whole time. The "Trump Card," the Guardian said, "is about how we build our individual realities and how an artful lie illuminates what we believe to be the truth more than any actual accounting of objective reality." "Part Friedrich Nietzsche, part Jim Carrey, Lepore is sharp and challenging and funny," said Flavorpill of Lepore.
Linda McInerney of Eggtooth Productions directs this adapted version that will show at the Hooker-Dunham Theatre, 139 Main St., Brattleboro, on Friday at 8 p.m. and on Saturday at 2 p.m. Advanced tickets for both Friday and Saturday shows are available at sethums.com. Tickets are $14 general admission and $12 senior/ student. Lepore will bring the show to East Hampton, and the Shea Theater in Turners Falls, Mass. if you miss this show. Visit sethums.com for schedule and tickets.
Lepore writes a series on the entrepreneurial mindset for performers for the theater blog HowlRound. He is currently writing Ruthless Reciprocity, a book on how performing artists can increase their business skill set while creating a community movement in order to have direct ownership over their careers. Lepore is also the co-founder of Easthampton Co.Lab, a membership-based collaborative workspace aimed at connecting, engaging and enabling creative individuals and entrepreneurs.
"If you think you know Trump. NO! You will learn so much about him and yourself. It is that good. I didn't write it. It was written by a brilliant writer." Lepore said,
Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.