Barton Sutter

Bushed: A Poetical, Political, Partly Musical Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Book and Lyrics by Barton Sutter
Original Music and Arrangements by Marya Hart

"Bushed" reveals how the souls of those in power affect the nation. Composed entirely in verse, the play is historical fiction based on actual quotations and recent events in U.S. history. Sonnets, ballads, villanelles, and songs imaginatively amplify the facts to expose the psychological conditions that gave them birth.

The U.S. Constitution, only mentioned now and then on stage, is the real protagonist of the play, attacked by members of the Bush family and administration, who are out to destroy it and consolidate their power in a de facto dictatorship. An ensemble of variable size (from eight to twenty actors) dramatizes crucial moments in the public and private lives of the Bush dynasty. With roots in Greek drama, the play employs a chorus of citizens, but here they not only comment but participate in the action.

Act I opens in 2001 and builds to the bombing of Baghdad, portrayed by Bush and citizens singing the "Shock and Awe Shuffle" to a lightshow, and culminates in war protestors singing the traditional spiritual "Hold On." Act II begins with the looting of Baghdad and traces the decline of the Bush administration, climaxing in a citizens' revolutionary rant.

Along the arc of the play, actors reveal the psyches of their characters through monologues, dialogues, and poems voiced for multiple speakers. An unusual range of moods animates the scenes--from the slapstick of "Simp and Wimp" to the furious "Fight Song of Karl Christian Rove" to the bewildered "Love Song of Laura Bush" to the desperate "Superdome Poem"--but the governing dramatic style is revue-cabaret. Twelve songs--from inspirational spirituals to acidic parodies of famous show tunes--deepen characterization and advance the plot.

Selected Works

Essays
An oddly brilliant and lovely little book.
--Jim Harrison
Fiction
These stories are astonishingly good.
--Caroline See, Los Angeles Times
Poetry
Restores your faith in the drumbeat of your own heart.
--Minneapolis Star Tribune
Play
Composed entirely in verse, Bushed is scathing satire in revue-cabaret style.