Friday, July 16, 2004

Stage Combat

George W. Bush calls John Kerry an elitist.  This is coming from a guy who hails from a patrician New England family, went to prep school at Andover, college at Yale, and grad school at Harvard.  His grandfather was a senator from Connecticut, and his family spends the summers on the shores of Kennebunkport, Maine.

 

I’m not a psychologist, but my years of studying theatre and character development in playwriting and dramatic literature lend some insight to this behavior.  George W. Bush is ashamed of his roots as a son of the ruling class and is in a power struggle with his father.  This is the stuff of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night; the story of a dysfunctional family dealing with dissoulte sons who are struggling with their own failings and demons and their desperate attempt to garner approval from their father.  Meanwhile their mother, a morphine addict, lives in a dreamworld where nothing can disturb her “beautiful mind.”

 

O’Neill’s play is a wrenching examination of his own family, written in his last years and held from production until after his death to spare his family.  But in the Bush family, they have made the world their stage.  This is a play that needs to close before Act III.