“No theater could sanely flourish until there was an umbilical connection between what was happening on the stage and what was happening in the world.” – Kenneth Tynan
After I attending Thoroughly Modern Production’s musical, Assassins at 2nd Street Theater, I walked away mulling over the theme. The timing of the production, directly after the reelection of Obama, the 44th President of the United States, made the show not only relevant, but set the audience up for a thought provoking journey into some of the minds of America’s most notorious presidential assassins.
Personally, I had never spent much time on the motivations and personal lives of individuals such as Leon Czolgosz (assassinated President William McKinley), Giuseppe Zangara (failed assassination attempt on President Franklin Roosevelt) and even Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK’s assassin).
Theatre can ignite imaginations and pose questions in a very provoking manner. Assassins used a fair amount of humor to tell the tale of these tragic and terrible lives. Bringing attention to human element through humor created an accessible way to re-imagine these figures often viewed as monsters.
For theatre to give your mind some juicy bits to work on after the production can be the mark of a successful show. When could the audience be more open to learning about the fragility and starkness of human life, of our president’s lives? The turbulent 2012 election cycle is over, but as Assassins reminded me, there is always unrest, there are always issues that go unresolved and there are always people who feel unheard and find destructive ways to be noticed.
It is good to be reminded of the power of the stage and have your preconceived notions challenged.