Schenkkan's 'Building the Wall:' A Dystopian Nightmare
There’s a hold-your-breath inevitability to what is finally disclosed in “Building the Wall,” the powerful dystopian drama about life in the Donald Trump era by Robert Schenkkan. You hear it in the distant, unnerving soundscape. You see it as two characters increasingly come to grips with their worst fears. Most of all, you feel it in the gut, because what the writer imagines is not so much a fanciful futurist leap but a calculated cautionary tale, taking place just two years from now.
The work is sure to provoke shock, awe and much talk as it is produced around the country. (The New York gig is a stand-alone, limited run, but another production played L.A and others are slated in a regional network across the country. More are sure to follow with the two hander’s au courant but limited shelf life.)
Schenkkan, a Pulitzer winner for “The Kentucky Cycle” and co-writer of film “Hacksaw Ridge,” last hit the boards with the Tony-winning play “All the Way,” about LBJ’s triumphs and tragedy. His latest is a hot-off-the-laptop scorcher of a play is about another presidential manipulator. If you think Vietnam was bad, get a good grip on your armrests.
In this speculative fiction, Schenkkan does not return to the subject of insider political power plays, and the current Oval Office resident only gets a few passing references. Instead the writer zeroes intimately, unsparingly and chillingly at one of this election cycle’s disenfranchised followers and takes an unblinking look at what makes him tick…tick…tick.