Headliners: Seth Lepore’s ‘Trump Card’ at Eastworks; Wet Ink Ensemble at Smith

  • Dan DeNicola—

  • Dan DeNicola—

Published: 10/27/2016 11:41:34 AM

Trump is us

Don’t go to see “Trump Cardexpecting some Alec Baldwin-like impersonation. The one-man show was created by monologist Mike Daisey and it’s more about how Trump got to where he is than how awful he is (though that’s in there, too), and how America got him there — which means the satirical jabs are aimed as much at you and me as they are the Great Bloviator. “If Napoleon is Europe, it is because the people he sways are little Napoleons,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, a crisp expression of the idea that every leader reflects a nation’s character. Substitute Trump for Napoleon and America for Europe and you pretty much have the theme of Daisey’s performance piece.

Learning that Daisey had made the script open-source and adaptable, Easthampton’s Seth Lepore has chopped it up and remixed his own personal story into the fold, threading in the political quagmires of his home state of Rhode Island to illuminate how we have all — progressives, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans — created the Trump monster together.

Performing the work over the past month, Lepore has apparently been hustling to keep up with the accelerating political disaster unfolding before us, furiously scribbling notes for new bits to incorporate into his routine. He’ll present the latest version of the show at the West End in Eastworks in Easthampton on Nov. 1 (7 p.m., $10-$14) and at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on Nov. 4 (8 p.m., $15). sethums.com

Says who?

Literally meaning “he, himself, said it,” the Latin term ipse dixit is defined as “an unproven yet dogmatic statement, which the speaker expects the listener to accept as valid without proof beyond the speaker's assumed expertise.”

But no, composer-singer Kate Soper’s evening-length work of theatrical chamber music — which is actually titled “Ipsa Dixit” (“she, herself, said it”) — has nothing to do with this year’s Republican presidential nominee. A work for violin, percussion, flute and voice, it blends elements of drama, Greek theater and screwball comedy to investigate the treachery of language and explore the frustrations inherent in all attempts at artistic communication “via a skeptical take on the role of the singer as gatekeeper of meaning, sentiment, and expressivity.”

In development since 2010, the six-movement piece — which draws on texts from Aristotle, Plato, Freud, Wittgenstein, conceptual artist Jenny Holtzer and the very-short-story writer Lydia Davis — was recently completed and will receive its official premiere in New York in February. On Friday, however, you can witness its unofficial premiere when Soper and other members of the Wet Ink Ensemble — the new music group of which she is co-director — perform in Smith College’s Helen Hills Hill Chapel. Describing the work as “a weird circus of philosophical ruminations,” Soper adds that “hopefully, it will be a crazy-fun extravaganza.”

8 p.m. Free admission. Helen Hills Hills Chapel is at 123 Elm St. in Northampton.

— Dan DeNicola

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