Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America
by Stephen Sewell
Orange Tree, Richmond, until 11 December—phone 020 8940 3633
Stephen Sewell’s title leaves the audience in little doubt of his views of the American government.
His passionate polemic against the myth of the “war on terror” to spread “American democracy” across the globe is centred on the story of Finch, a left wing professor in New York.
When he is visited and attacked by an armed man, Finch presumes this is a parent suspicious of his relationship with a student.
However, the university authorities then collude to remove Finch for his “dangerous” ideas, and the armed man returns to harass Finch for his politics.
Finch realises he is being hunted down by the neo-conservatives who can now imprison and kill him for democracy’s sake.
The play’s power lies in its witty dialogue and talented characterisation. Its quality, however, is inconsistent.
And I feel that the implication that America is turning fascist fails to grasp the truly frightening concept that Guantanamo Bay justice is taking place under capitalist democracy.
Sewell’s anger is not misplaced, and the play is self consciously furious at the way our world has been manipulated.
However, this partially imagined future fails to clarify what ordinary people are doing, and therefore how we can stop the neo-liberals. That, then, is the task of the audience.