Trump-inspired “Building the Wall” Off-Broadway play bombs

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A dark political Off Broadway play, Building the Wall, which depicts America after the imagined impeachment of President Trump, is scheduled to close one month before its original end date, according to producer Jeffrey Richards.

Building the Wall first premiered on May 12 at New World Stages, ahead of its official May 24 opening, and was scheduled to run through July 9.

However, the play’s author, Robert Schenkkan, who won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his work, took to Twitter on Friday to announce that its “final performances” will be this weekend.

The play’s producer, Richards, cited the reason for closing the production early was difficulty in building an audience.

“Our author built a powerful play; however, during this Tony Awards season and during a season which has not been kind to straight plays, we were unable to build an audience,” Richards said. “It is especially difficult to do so when you are Off Broadway.”

The 90-minute theatrical production is touted as a political suspense drama inspired by the Trump administration. With a two-person cast, the play is set in the year 2019 and imagines a scenario where Trump has successfully detained millions of illegal immigrants. The play calls into question who were are as a nation and where we might be headed as Trump turns his campaign promises into real policies.

The New York Times reports:

In “Building the Wall,” Gloria, a history professor, interviews a former security officer named Rick in 2019. Mr. Trump has been exiled after a terrorist event prompted him to declare martial law and place Muslims and Mexicans and other groups in containment camps, which devolve into killing chambers. Rick, one of the men who helped carry out the atrocities, is in prison and Gloria has offered to tell his story.

When asked by reporters what inspired Schenkkan to write the play, he replied: “I wrote this in a white-hot fury. We no longer live in a world that is business as usual – Trump has made that very clear – and if theater is going to remain relevant, we must become faster to respond. We cannot hope to be useful if we can’t respond until 18 months after the fact. It is not a crazy or extreme fantasy. It’s very solidly grounded in current American law, and Trump’s rhetoric, and his most recent executive orders.”

Building the Wall is also being showcased in other venues across the U.S., including Los Angeles, where the production has been extended for a third time, according to Richards. Rehearsals are currently underway in Chicago, Tucson, Miami, and Santa Fe, with productions also scheduled for Austria, Canada, Iran, and Mexico.

 

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