‘Mask’ tackles Bush’s politics

The play, “The Unreasoning Mask,” performed on the main stage in Dailey Theatre, was written by D’Arcy Jones Cook and William A. Cook. “The Unreasoning Mask” is a play about President Bush and his administration during Sept. 11 and the events following. Sophomore Chris Smith portrayed George W. Bush, while Senior Nasir Najieb portrayed Colin Powell. The play opened Dec. 4 and ended its run Dec. 7. / photo by Reina Santa Cruz
The play, “The Unreasoning Mask,” performed on the main stage in Dailey Theatre, was written by D’Arcy Jones Cook and William A. Cook. “The Unreasoning Mask” is a play about President Bush and his administration during Sept. 11 and the events following. Sophomore Chris Smith portrayed George W. Bush, while senior Nasir Najieb portrayed Colin Powell. The play opened Dec. 4 and ended its run Dec. 7. / photo by Reina Santa Cruz

by Bailey Porter
LV Life Editor

“The Unreasoning Mask,” a dramatic play by William A. Cook, professor of English, and D’Arcy Jones Cook was performed in Dailey Theatre last weekend by the Theatre Arts Department.

It was a successful attempt to respond artistically to the Bush Administration’s recent actions.

A serious play in the form of a Greek tragedy, “The Unreasoning Mask” explores the Bush Administration’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent entrance into a war on terrorism.

“I was concerned that the arts were not addressing political issues that should be a concern to all of us,” said D’Arcy Jones Cook during a “talk back session” held after the play.

The Theatre Arts Department welcomes open dialogue after shows that warrant further discussion among the cast, writers, director and audience.

Watching the actors as they effortlessly portrayed their real-life counterparts with direction from the writers, director David Flaten and their own perceptions was like tuning in to an episode of “The West Wing.”

Chris Smith, sophomore theatre major, who recently played Rocky in the “The Rocky Horror Show,” got a chance to take on a more serious role as George W. Bush.

Smith’s scenes with Nasir Najieb, senior, as Colin Powell and Alison Jones, freshman, as Laura Bush delivered detailed mannerisms and dialogue.

They were similar to what may have actually happened in the White House in the days and years following the attacks, and Bush’s decision to pull the second resolution to the United Nations requesting its authority to attack Iraq.

Conversations between Bush and Billy Graham, played by Nathan Lahr, junior music and English major, explored the influence of fundamentalism and manifest destiny.

Zach Johnson, sophomore theater major, played Donald Rumsfeld.

His ambiguous lines and confusing soliliques during press conferences throughout the play were from actual speeches Rumsfeld made, and produced light laughter in the audience that provided comic relief.

Scattered through these scenes were poignant poems also by the writers. In the Greek tradition, a chorus of powerless innocents lament their concerns through verse.

In “The Unreasoning Mask,” a chorus delivered the Cooks’ words with a strength and command of the poetry that held the audience enraptured throughout the evening.

At the opening and closing of the play, Cook’s poems “Ground Zero” and “The Defeated” called for compassion across national boundaries and recognizing the brutality of war.

In “The Mother’s Lament” by Cook, the chorus provided a voice for the voiceless: “We are women, bound in flesh, giving life to all who walk this place we share/ Still, our voices, our thoughts, they go unheard/ beneath thunderous rhetoric of greed and war.”

Writing for the project began in May with what was originally meant to be a satire.

But after thorough research, the pair said they decided a serious play was more fitting.

“I felt the cast did an outstanding job and Chris did a phenomenal job as Bush,” said freshman Matthew Ewert.

The next theater production will be “The Bald Soprano.” The play, which is a presentation by the Theatre, Acting and Performance class, will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 18 and at 1 p.m., Dec. 19 in the Cabaret Theatre.

Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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