April 20, 2017
The first one hundred days of the Trump presidency have given us a taste of the style of governance we are to expect for the next four years. For many, this has been a cause of consternation as travel is restricted and our alliances wither. Next on the President’s firing line are the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which are to be eliminated in Trump’s budget proposal. Now more than ever, the arts community has to show its fangs and demonstrate that it has the capacity to make lasting change, even if it must fight tooth and nail under adverse circumstances.
Hamilton’s latest mainstage production is an example of how theatre can both entertain audiences and subvert our commander-in-chief to great effect. Antigonick features a 2,000 year-old story, re-energized by Anne Carson’s translation and re-invented by Mark Cryer’s needlepoint direction. Yet the core message remains the same: a warning about the perils of demagoguery and the rulers who use it to circumvent justice. In a similar vein, Get Out has pushed the glaringly problematic nature of modern racism to the forefront of American cinema.
Both on and off the Hill, the time is ripe for creators to invigorate themselves with our political and social malaise. Through the collaborative nature of artistic expressions, such as theatre, music and the literary arts, we can overcome our initial trepidations and step into a more lucid limelight.
No single play, film nor work of art will solve all of our nation’s problems, but they will breathe new life into us, giving us the energy and grit necessary to carry out the task at hand. The Spectator stands squarely against the Trump administration’s rejection of the arts, and we hope that the Hamilton community will continue to foster the creation of thought-provoking conversations, whether they be in the theatre, at an immigration panel or in the classroom.