In lieu of an encouraged theater of political dissent in America, Arts historians who want to ponder the Obama years, might do well to turn to the works of the Amoralists (under the pen of Derek Ahonen) to gain a preliminary understanding. The group, which originated in 2006, offered an election-year play Amerissiah (2008), in which a pivotal character, Barry, thinks he’s God.
The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side followed in 2009, and is still considered the ensemble’s signature hit, where leftists looked to solve the ills of a world that had already moved on.
Happy in the Poorhouse (2010) accepted the reality of being broke and unemployed during the Iraq war (recall that circa 2007, as reported in The New York Times, the Democratic party did not believe that the unemployed constituted a voting block big enough to take seriously), and The Bad and the Better, with Occupy Wall Street fresh in our minds, pointed to the injustices of the one percent (2012). Last year, The Cheaters Club was the group’s safest offering to date, a horror musical with twenty-six actors, including zombies. Although the Amoralists are known for nudity, language, and over-the-top behavior--in this case, there weren’t even any cheaters. The play was prescient for a time of encroaching paranoia and fear, as Edward Snowden’s revelations imminently exposed the theft of American privacy: Glenn Greenwald’s coverage broke the NSA story for the British newspaper The Guardian (which did not make much of a case for U.S. journalism of the time, but this news story probably did turn out to be the best theatre that year).