Day Five of the Kansas City Fringe Festival, performance number three of #WTF Happened? On the Phenomenon of Trump.
I arrived late on Sunday, July 15th, met with Forrest Attaway, Artistic Director of Kokopelli Theatre Company, on the 16th, had the tech rehearsal on the 18th, preview night on the 19th and opened on Friday the 20th.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s been fabulous. The staff and volunteers working to make the Fringe possible are truly amazing. The level of organisation required to provide and opportunity for roughly 75 independently produced productions is staggering and they have pulled it off with extraordinary aplomb.
Actors Rep has been extremely fortunate to have Kokopelli as co-producers on the ground, with Forrest Attaway getting five of their productions up and running as well as helping bring #WTF to the KC stage.
I am extremely grateful to all of these people.
The show itself has been enthusiastically received. Somewhere around 150 people have seen the first three shows and we have received very positive feedback — and one standing ovation!
It’s been interesting seeing the difference in these US audiences and the Luxembourg audiences who just saw the piece in early July (and in its previous incarnation last September at Théâtre National du Luxembourg — TNL). Both sets of audiences were and have been great, but there have been differences — laughs coming at different times, moments of recognition landing perhaps in a different way.
As a writer it is enormously gratifying to see that my words have had an impact on both the mixed cultures of Luxembourg audiences as well as the mixed cultures of audiences in Kansas City.
As an actor, the generous and thoughtful response to the work has been humbling and gratifying.
I treasure the many conversations I’ve had with audience members after the shows and look forward to many more.
#WTF Happened? wouldn’t be here without the inspiration and work of Charles Muller, who commissioned the first version last year at Théâtre D’Esch, and without the brilliance of Actors Rep Associate Artistic Director Christine Probst as collaborator and Director in the subsequent productions in Luxembourg and now Kansas City. It wouldn’t be on stage again without the encouragement of Actors Rep Artistic Associate Peter Zazzali and the help of Forrest Attaway and Kokopelli, and the tech support of Matilda Hansson, and Steve and Wallace working in the booths at the Musical Theatre Heritage (MTH) for the Festival. And I wouldn’t be able to do the work without the support of Dena Abbott.
We’re grateful also for the financial support of FOCUNA, whose generosity assisted with the travel expenses of coming to the Fringe, to the Ministère de la Culture of Luxembourg and the Fondation Indèpendance for their financial support of the September production, and to e2advance, who does the tremendous work of the website design and maintenance.
We at Actors Rep hope this show will have a continued life and that we may be able to present it to additional audiences in other cities. The piece seems to spark thought and emotion and laughter in and dialogue with its audiences. We hope to be able to continue sharing it with new audiences. We look forward to doing so and to engaging in the dialogues that result.
In the meantime, we understand President Trump is on his way to Kansas City. We’d be happy to have him see the show.