Documentary Theater and the Irony of History

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Title: Documentary Theater and the Irony of History
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Language: English
Creator: Amram, Aaron
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: Documentary
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Abstract: I begin with an introduction to the history and basic themes of documentary theater, including its relationship to both history and historical theater, and its own fragmented artistic heritage. I examine the two central and continuing challenges for the documentary stage: how facts are best and most fairly presented, and to what audience they are, with readings of David Hare's Stuff Happens and Moises Kaufman's Gross Indecency. The nature of documented fact has changed, now that modern technology allows for almost any object or image to be easily reproduced, to become a document. There is a basically unequal relationship between nearly universal access to information and the nearly universal mediatization of information. A self-awareness and uncertainty pervades and shapes the modern public scene. So considering the changing relationship the West has with the notions of truth and factuality, I will examine the integral part that the documentary drama plays in what has been called 'post 9/11 theater.' These frames serve as the foundation for my creative project: an original work of documentary theater derived from the Nixon Tapes, one of the ultimate modern documents. An extended discussion of that project follows.
Statement of Responsibility: by Aaron Amram
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Supplements: Accompanying materials: DVD
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Myhill, Nova

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Source Institution: New College of Florida
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Permanent Link:

Material Information

Title: Documentary Theater and the Irony of History
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Amram, Aaron
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: Documentary
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: I begin with an introduction to the history and basic themes of documentary theater, including its relationship to both history and historical theater, and its own fragmented artistic heritage. I examine the two central and continuing challenges for the documentary stage: how facts are best and most fairly presented, and to what audience they are, with readings of David Hare's Stuff Happens and Moises Kaufman's Gross Indecency. The nature of documented fact has changed, now that modern technology allows for almost any object or image to be easily reproduced, to become a document. There is a basically unequal relationship between nearly universal access to information and the nearly universal mediatization of information. A self-awareness and uncertainty pervades and shapes the modern public scene. So considering the changing relationship the West has with the notions of truth and factuality, I will examine the integral part that the documentary drama plays in what has been called 'post 9/11 theater.' These frames serve as the foundation for my creative project: an original work of documentary theater derived from the Nixon Tapes, one of the ultimate modern documents. An extended discussion of that project follows.
Statement of Responsibility: by Aaron Amram
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Supplements: Accompanying materials: DVD
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Myhill, Nova

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 A5
System ID: NCFE004358:00001

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DOCUMENTARY THEATER AND THE IRONY OF HISTORY BY AARON AMRAM A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Nova Myhill Sarasota, Florida May, 2011


ii Dedication To our parents, who had to live through it, and to all of us, who still do.


iii Table of Contents Dedicationii Abstract...iv Introduction: The Nature of Documentary Theater.1 Chapter 1: Contemporary issues in Documentary Theater Chapter 2: The Making of Dont Listen .................................................................45 Conclusion: The Nurture of Documentary Theater...67 Appendix: ScriptDont Listen to What we Say, Watch What we Do... Works Cited.......94 Works Consulted........96


iv DOCUMENTARY THEATER AND THE IRONY OF HISTORY Aaron Amram New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT I begin with an introduction to the hist ory and basic themes of documentary theater, including its relationshi p to both history a nd historical theater, and its own fragmented artistic heritage. I examine the two central and continui ng challenges for the documentary stage: how facts are best and mo st fairly presented, and to what audience they are, with readings of David Hare's Stuff Happens and Moises Kaufman's Gross Indecency The nature of documented fact ha s changed, now that modern technology allows for almost any object or image to be easily reproduced, to become a document. There is a basically unequal relationship betw een nearly universal access to information and the nearly universal medi atization of information. A self-awareness and uncertainty pervades and shapes the modern public scene. So considering the changing relationship the West has with the notions of truth and factuality, I will examine the integral part that the documentary drama plays in what has been called 'post 9/11 theater.' These frames serve as the foundation for my creative project: an original work of documentary theater


v derived from the Nixon Tapes, one of the ultimate modern documents. An extended discussion of that project follows. Nova Myhill Humanities


INTRODUCTION THE NATURE OF DOCUMENTARY THEATER Documentary theater is an international mode of theater in which most or all of the performance text consists of directly quo ted or presented documents taken from real life sources. As such, documentary dramas refe r to and are about real life events, persons and places, ongoing, recent, or l ong in the past. Its development is concurrent with the development of modern documentary film and shares many formal qualities with it, predicated on the ever-expanding technology of reproduction. However, once begun in the early 20th century, the two forms diverged and have had little further communication. They have different histories, theorists, f ounders, and luminaries, with little overlap. What makes a documentary drama? Docu ments in themselves are not dramatic material, and no ordering of them alone will turn them into a play. The playwrights and their companies impose (or compose) the self-consciously poetic overlay that turns the raw and not-yet-artistic documents into documen tary theater (Paget 15). I say playwrights and companies because many documentary dramas have been made in an environment in which the actors who ultimately perform th e documents are integral to the play's construction, editing, and refining. The appli cation of fictional systems, inherent in arranging and narrativizi ng documents in order to create a historical narrative, creates the drama. The need to go through the fictional to ar rive at the factual is a paradox that is at the heart of documentary theater. The United States is one of the Western nations in which documentary performance has come to flourish. This embrace, I think, is intricately tied to the rapidity and ubiquity of mediatized culture in the United States the rapid dominions of newspapers, television and ra dio, Hollywood film dictating a nd reshaping truth, and of 1


recording technology such as Dictaphones and recording tape s, mimeographs, microfilm, cameras, computers and the Internet. The docum entary theater mode is at once aided and forwarded by technological advance but limited by each medium's own terms of accountability and reproduction. Ev ery new possibility for truthful presentation adds new insecurities. President Richard Nixon is a particularly relevant American case of the peculiar relationship between documentation and trut h. Between the press that followed him through his long professional career and his own documen tary obsessions (the Nixon tapes), Richard Nixon's was in his own time the most recorded political career and, perhaps, human life in the world. Additionally, his was among the most viewed in history. His addresses, interviews, and indictments repeatedly broke audience size records for decades as historian Thomas Monsell emphasizes (14). The secret White House tapes revealed an extreme schism between Nixon' s public and private identitiesshocking to the public, even if somewhat expected, and in the eternal ignominy that has followed dozens of artistic works have been creat ed analyzing him, each more or less documentary. Whatever truth really means to an American, the rise and fall of Richard Nixon has become closely tied to the consci ousness of it. As a cu lmination of my own research, I created my own documentary play, Don't Listen to What We Say, Watch What We Do, from resources on the Nixon Presidency. Th e script and an analysis of the project are included. There is still comparatively little sc holarship on documentary theater. In his 1997 book on documentary theater in America, scholar Gary Fisher Dawson lists only nine influential articles that ha ve guided English-speaking thea ter scholarship on documentary 2


theater (xiv). Only three anthologies of speci fically documentary or verbatim plays have currently been published, Atillio Favorini's Voicings, Johnny Saldaa's Ethnodrama, and Carol Martin's Dramaturgy of the Real on the World Stage. The Drama Review 's fall 2006 issue was devoted entirely to documentary theater, which may signify a much more widespread recognition of documentary th eater as an established and relevant performative and political discourse. Derek Paget is one of the leading schol ars of documentary drama, having written a seminal text on documentary drama, True Stories. In it, he makes a point to delineate documentary theater as a 'mode' of theater, rather than a genre (14). Differences in performance practice, basic construction, and performative point, as well as its connection to modernism separate it from the construction of genre (comedy, tragedy, dramedy, problem play, social drama, natu ralistic bourgeois drama, etc, etc). No one would identify the avant-garde works of Richard Foreman, Peter Brook, or the Wooster Group as a genre, much less the same one. And all three have experimented with verbatim language. Despite its real life inte rests and practical aspirations, documentary theater is often no less experimental than 'conven tional' experimental theater. Just like the avant-garde, the documentary mode is continually seeking new ways to find that which on the stage imprints itself in the minds of its viewers as truth. To discuss the aspects of documentary theater that help make it a uni que and important discou rse, it suits this project to discuss the form's history, how ever difficult this simple task proves. Documentary theater does not have a through line as an artistic movement. Paget sees documentary theater's series of transmission and revivals as a broken tradition (224). Many persons who make documentary th eater have done so with no mentors or 3


communities, and often few models availabl e for creating a documentary drama. Until recently, these fragmented moments of documentary arose in different parts of the world and at different times, with little knowl edge or communication between one another. Paget concurs: practitioners always have to learn agai n techniques that seldom get passed on directly. The resultant discontinuity contrasts sharply with the continuity of the tradition of stage naturalism that typifies mainstream Western theatre (224). The documentary stage shares the problems of tr ansmission of training and information faced by the international avant-garde of the last century. There is no institution for the education of documentary dramatists, no masters or apprentices, no academy or repertory to store and develop theory and practice. How documentary dramatists go about their work varies greatly, and has cha nged significantly over the century. Documentary drama is a recent outgrowth of the historical project to express real experience on the stage. Historical drama is naturally documentary drama's predecessor. Some early Greek dramas, rather than dealing with mytho-historical events and fictional heroes (the Trojan War or Herakles ), studied real events. Aeschylus' The Persians is a famous example, a play for which Athenian audiences would feature refugees, veterans, victims, and witnesses, or their descendant s. Though it is through th e perspective of the former enemy culture, The Persians is an artistic attempt to understand the shared experience of a massive and entirely factual na tional event writes Favorini (ii). In earlymodern Elizabethan and pre-revolutionary England, the dramatic turn towards truth takes two directions, each decidedly more recognizable as precursors to the documentary approach. The two dominant historicizing approaches were chroniclessuch as Shakespeare's king cycle and other stories of famous leaders or battlesand 'true crime' 4


or witch trial plays (Favorini xi v). In these 'true crime' play s, recent trials and scandals, often murders and accusations of witchcraft, were then dramatized to the contemporary public. The narratives were highly edited, with extensive liberties taken. The historical drama, in analogizing between the turmoils of the past and contemporary anxieties is a bridge between fictive and documentary theater (Favorini xv). But the first play that ostensibly work s in the documentarian mode was written years before the word even existed. Georg Bchner's Danton's Death, written in 1835, is the first play to use the document and the repr oduced historical artif act as dramatic text when discussing that historical event, and is considered by some documentary theater scholars, including Gary Fisher Dawson, to be the forerunner of documentary drama (22). The work was politically censored in its own timeit was first published in 1835 extensively edited, and it was not staged until 1902. In Bchner's time, composing a work sympathetic to, or even simply about the French Revolution was politically dangerous, and he himself could have been punished for his work. When Robespierre speaks, the text is his ownhe gives his own speeches. Many of the revolutionary inner circle's own words come from their characters' own m ouths throughout the play. Whatever artistic interpolation of Georges Danton's life and char acter occurs, the events ultimately play out as they did decades before. For these reasons, Danton's Death is considered the forerunner of documentary theater. To current academic knowledge, no other documentary dramas were created in the 19th century. The socially conscious works of the 19th century naturalist stage, despite extensively formal and aesthetic difference s, certainly influenced the creation of documentary drama. There is a consciousne ss in the works of Zola, of Hauptmann, of 5


Ibsen, that generations of prejudice, of t hought, of time have helped create the present world. Author's such as Shaw, Zola, Ibsen, Hauptmann, and Strindberg published articles on the modern artist's obligation to society, and his capacity to present life, as the saying goes, as it really is (Dawson 24). In its own time, many naturalist plays were highly controversial, banned and censored, margina lized, feared as propa gators of social disorder. A modern reader, for whom this is often hard to understand, should remember that the naturalist and earl y realist stages of the 19th century existed in a world with far fewer kinds of media. Newspapers in their m odern form were still relatively new, as was mass literacy. Theaters were places where larg e groups of people could meet to hear a story, receive a message or ideology, and anyone who could afford a ticket could attend. Obviously, authorities have cons istently recognized the theater as politically dangerous. Documentary, as opposed to history or j ournalism, came about along with and as a result of the most important technological changes of the tu rn of the twentieth century: the advent of recording, reproducible media, in the form of photography, film, recorded audio, and radio. The word documentary itself was initially used to describe the early travel videos and short films made in the 19th century. The filmmaker John Grierson was the first to use to term to identify a cinematic project of real life when he praised Robert Flaherty's 1926 early ethnographic film Moana. Scholar Patricia Aufderheide writes that Grierson heralded the emerging form as an artistic representation of actuality (3). Moana's praise indicated the increasing notor iety and recognition of film as documentation and education, if not a me thod of modern reco rd-keeping. Grierson himself would become the champion of the documentary-movement in England for the following two decades (Aufderheide 8). 6


At the same time, the German documentary drama was the other side of the modernist turn in react ion to the 'real realism' of f ilm, photography, and audio recording. No stage realism, thought both the Expression ists and the New Objectivists, could ever be able to capture the real world in ac tion as a film camera. The response of the expressionists and the documentarians was to express on the stage what a camera cannot show, that which is inside a man or woma n, or is hidden from view. Rather than a reaction or result of documenta ry film practice, it develope d alongside it. Erwin Piscator was the formal and conceptual innovator of the documentary form. In 1925 he produced a landmark multimedia spectacle to honor th e anniversary of the Germany Communist Party, In Spite of Everything. In Piscator's own words, it was the first production in which the text and staging were based so lely on political documents (Favorini 7). Thousands of Germans saw the work, which ha d a cast of 200 actors, dancers, singers, and laborers (xviii). Actors reading and miming documents and speeches of communists as well as German authorities, including the Emperor Franz Josef further conveyed the chronicle of the Party. Surviving notes depict a document-driv en drama forwarded by written narration and historicization and massive crowd scenes. Weimar author ities suppressed the work as best they could, but Piscator we nt on to create other documen tary pieces before his exile in the 1930s, including regular workers' th eater, discussing current events in the newspapers and on the radio, frequently repr oducing statements word for word. Many of the formal innovations and social concerns forwarded by Piscator were developed and carried on by his protege Bertolt Brecht, w hose own formal practi ces are among the most influential in all modern theater, and especially documentary theater. 7


Gary Fisher Dawson created what is pr obably the only systematized history of documentary theater in the 20th centuryone to which I agree. He identifies four periods of expression in the field of documentary th eater, mostly unrelated in terms of outright sharing of information and practice, but each one employing technology and documentation in new and related ways. The fi rst period is the time of formal innovation in Weimar Germany described above. Several years later in America the second period of documentary expression came from the Living Newspaper plays (164). The Federal Theater Project's Hallie Flanagan produced multiple co-authored documentary dramas throughout the later 1930s, starting with Ethiopia and Triple A Plowed Under in 1936. Flanagan had traveled to the Soviet Union earlier, and had seen performances by Soviet agitprop groups, and the emergent (if short-lived) avant-garde. Triple A Plowed Under concerns the struggles of labor ers all over America to actual ly receive reli ef from the troubled implementation of the Works Proj ect Administration. Living Newspaper plays often featured an omniscient voice-over narrator, and an anonymous everyman-type character who personally responded to the ev ents and scenes created by documents, newspaper articles, speeches, film-reel f ootage, and photography. Though a fictional figure, meant to represent the common Ameri can laborer and be the audience's surrogate, he does provide an immediate lens with whic h to view the media e xperience of political turmoil ultimately played out upon a human bo dy, one that can poli tically respond with words and actions Like Piscator's documentary theater work s, the Living Newspaper pieces featured large casts and extensive multimedia systems. Many were critically and publicly successful, and toured nationally with the Federal Theater Project's biggest plays (Paget 8


53). The political intensity of these plays of ten made them highly controversial, and Flanagan constantly battled to maintain le gitimacy and efficacy from an increasingly critical government watch. The Living Newspaper play Ethiopia was a fulcrum of the political turmoil in which American documen tary theater would be embroiled. Arthur Arent's Ethiopia was a political call for American s upport for the African nation, at the time brutally invaded by fascist Italy (Favorin i 24). Official American political responses were dismissive or circumspect. The play criticized the government's response and featured a performance of Roosevelt's speech distancing himself from Ethiopian diplomatic requests for assistance. The play was eventually pressured to close under what was considered by the White House to be an unfair portrayal of the President and his statements. Once again, the presentation of ve rbatim documents was a source of anxiety for a government unable to completely control its own image. Dawson calls the rise of documentary theater in the 1960s and early 1970s the New Documentary Period (164). This decade saw a great increase in the number and kinds of documentary plays performed all over the West, what may be recognized as the establishment of documentary theater as an internationa l theatrical mode. England, America, and Germany featured the most pr ess and diversity of documentary material, diverse in subject matter and formal a pproach. Germany saw Richard Hochhuth's The Deputy in 1963 Heinar Kipphardt's In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer in 1964, and Peter Weiss' The Investigation in 1965and Vietnam Discourse in 1968. Weiss is considered among the formal and intellectual pioneers of modern documentary drama. Weiss, Kipphardt, and Hochhuth's dramas were directed in West Germany by Erwin Piscator, returned to the form as an eminen t documentary dramatist. In America, Martin 9


Duberman's In White America in 1963 Eric Bentley's Are You Now or Have You Ever Been in 1974,and Donald Freed's Inquest in 1970 were defining new documentary dramas. In England, Richard Cheeseman de veloped his politically active, touring ethnographic theater and Joan Littlewood produced Oh What a Lovely War! In 1963, one of the most famous British theat er projects of the decade. Access to ethnographic, cultural, and gove rnment documents was on the rise, and the increasing affordability and mobility of recording equipment was making creating verbatim documents increasingly easy. What could become theater was constantly expanding, and this understanding easily coup led with an expanding conception of what should become theater. Despite the controversy and critical praise of many of these pieces, documentary theater nonetheless did not catch on, and into the 1970s the theater groups creating it and the artists writing it dropped from the public eye. Their writing and works were often later lost or ignored, and their own careers went in other directions. The past thirty years have seen an increase in the creation of documentary theater so great that revival is not an accurate wo rd to portray the development. Dawson calls this the Living Documentary Period ( 164). The 1990s and 2000s have seen more documentary theater composed and produced in ternationally that probably all the decades in the 20th century before it. In the English-sp eaking West, artists Emily Mann, Moiss Kaufman, Anna Deavere Smith, David Hare, a nd Howard Brenton have written some of the most widely performed documentary plays in the world. As a mode, it is finally receiving widespread recogn ition, and its popularity is gr owing radically. Ethnographic and community-based documentary dramas, hist orical documentary dramas, international political dramas, and reproduced courtroom dr amas have been written and produced with 10


increasing frequency not only in America and England, but th e entire world. The past decade has seen an even steeper increase in the volume of documentary theater created internationally. Critics see this trend as an outcropping of the ongoing ontol ogical crisis in the modern, hyper-mediatized world. This post-9/11 theater is ever more obsessed with and insecure over the assurance, disc overy, and survival of truth. Theater and performance that engages the real participates in the larger cultural obsession with capturing the 'real' for consumption even as what we understand as real is continually revised and reinvented, wr ites Carol Martin (1). New technologies shift grounds by which truth is asserted or undermined. New di scoveries alter who is readily believed. Most documentary makers consider th emselves storytellers, rather than journalists, writes Patricia Aufderheide (1). Aufderheide writes specifically of documentary filmmakers, but documentary dr amatists and playwrights undoubtedly share the sentiment. There is an enormous plur ality of vectors by which information, and documents can be spread and studied; docum entary dramatists see their medium as uniquely gifted to situate documents in a place where ideology and framing become explicit and aesthetic concer ns. On one end, documentary theatre is a means of interpreting history within the fi ctive domain of the stage. On the other, it is also a means to arrive at a better understanding of social and political dynamics in a way standard journalistic means cannot, or do not, provide (Dawson 10). Whereas journalists typically strive to create an impartial, objective r eckoning of events and persons, documentarymakers often thrive on the s ubjectivity of th eir subjects. In order to accurately consider th e documentarian experience and use of documents, it is necessary to discuss the hi storian's. It is in the lines by which 11


documentary separated, and separates, itself fr om history that documentary theater's own discourse of truth appears. It is difficult, and certainly beyond this project, to trace the evolution of documentation beyond an understa ndably limited degree. Janelle Reinelt holds that our modern experience of the document emerges in the 18th century. The development of a plurality of abilities to verify a document produced the modern historian; that is, as Janelle Reinelt offers an abundance of duplicates of sources and persons attending themand a broader conception of what a document can be (7). Additionally, the modern instit utions of the academy and of the man of letters developed at this time (Gibbons, Johnson, Pascal, Smith, to name a few). Many forces helped forward this technological pus h for truth. Favorini writes: the rise of modern newspapers; the ava ilability of archives to historians and the raising of standards for the jus tification of histor ical description; the wide acceptance of the ideas of Comte, Marx, Darwin, and Spencer, who examined individual behavior in a context bound by social, economic, and physical laws; the embrace of the nineteenth-century scientific model of truth as fact supported by empirical evidenceall these exerted increasing pressure on the theater to represent reality concretely, precisely, and directly (xviii). With a greater and greater profusion of documents came greater profusion of professionals to respond to them. The ideologi cal shift, however, comes not from only the profusion of the replaceable, readable doc uments, but the idea that they contain information that will inform an understandi ng of the world, that a greater number of objects, and articles, and all persons are active in the human landscape. 12


Let me attempt to note here as many as possible sources utilized in modern documentary theater: surveillanc e camera footage, film, photographs, memoirs, diaries, charts and statistics, interviews, audio r ecordings, essays, newspaper and magazine articles, trial transcripts, in ternet sites, memoranda, speeches, letters, public documents, medical records. The now-broad body of documentary performance uses an amazing variety of documents. Almost anything that is useful for the labor of the historian is useful for the documentarianprovided an actor can read it, or an audience can see or hear it. As in history, these documents serv e the project either as background or support, within the discourse but not upfront, or directly, edited or whole, as part of the dramatic text. Furthermore, due to documentary theater 's close relationship to social causes and radical ideologies, documents that historians often neglect are embodied on the documentary stage. One of the more exciting formal implications of these appropriations is the greatly expanded field of what can be dramatic text. The documents themselves do not perform, but they can be made to perfor m (Reinelt 6). The truth in the documentary drama exists outside the theatrical universe rather than being read in, it reads out. Reinelt writes, The inability of the docum ents [in history] to tell their stories without narrative intervention b ecomes in film and theatre th e inability of the documents to appear without the creativity of film and th eatre makers (8). This act of appearance is perhaps the supreme action of the stage. Some thing is seen which, even if previously known, was not previously seen. And so being seen, it can be judged. Carol Martin states that history and memory exist on two parallel lines, archive (docum ents) and repertoire (embodied memory, oral tradition); in documenta ry theater, these two lines intersect (19). The document pierces into the modes of embodied memory and oral tradition, and the 13


stuff of oral tradition is offe red up as a document itself. These forms intersect, and so we engage the critical facultie s of both to examine the one. The extreme profusion and variety of documents means that they are located everywhere and have no central hub. Libraries and archives remain a common source of documentationespecially textual documentati on. But modern technology makes almost anything recordable, savable, reproducibledo cumentable. More than just finding and/or appropriating them, documentary dramatists are often actively creating the documents of their work. Access to libraries, offices, and ar chives can be limited and documents can be closed, censored, and shaped, but living pe rsons, if accessible, can offer a potent and uncontrolled perspective. The witness, blessed (or cursed) with first order experience, and possibly despite his potential unreliability, is lent an authenticity to which no other documents compare (Paget 236). The universality of the function of the witness in the court of law speaks to this. The w itness, or at least his testimony, is also the perfect tool at the documentary actor's disposal; the bodyof the real personis assumed and believed to exist or have existed, so the actor does not need to convince that he or she is that body. Documentary drama is not realism because it rejects psychological drama or clash of personalities as dramatic forms. However, some scholars and critics have deigned to identify documentary drama as New R ealism (Dawson 93). This phrase may be misleading, but, helpfully, it recognizes how the mainstream theater community has internalized 20th century modernist and avant-ga rde practices. Audiences no longer expect extensive realistic sets and costuming to assert theatricality and tell a truthful story. The presence and action of the actor a nd the metaphoric scope of theatrical mimesis have achieved a greater aesthetic recognition, despite possible compla ints from theorists 14


and practitioners to the cont rary. Acting is still eminently important to documentary theater, but the actor is genera lly not the point of focus, even in documentary plays with one player. Re-performing already-perfor med content, the documentary actor has developed alongside the actor in the modern experimental st age, where often the human figure, instead of providing perspectival unity to a stage whose setting acts as backdrop and visual support, is treated as an element in what might be described as a theatrical landscape, writes Elinor Fuchs (92). In notes explaining his use of slides and screens in The Threepenny Opera Brecht called for the 'literarization' of the th eater. He even envisaged the creation of theatrical 'footnotes,' anything to lift the spectator above the coercive tactics of identification and empathy (Fuchs 75). T hough not employed in a documentary setting, many of Brecht's formal techniques are commonplace in documentary theater. Much modern documentary theater utilizes Brechtian idioms, including alienating acting, conceptual use of music, highlighting of formal construction, and an eminent political message. The embrace of documentary style, Brecht's 'literarization' of theater, reflects the post-structuralist turn to engage the world and our envi ronments as text. And though today documentary plays rarely share Brecht's hardline Marxist viewpoint, their political intensity is innate and integral to their social experience. Derek Paget argues that documents are so dangerous to hegemony that access to them is carefully controlled (25). While so me in the modern scene have contested the politicizing power of the documents re velation, oppressive governments and organizations aggressive efforts to control the flow of information remain ubiquitous. Hegemonic security over sources of informati on and historical reso urces helps assure a 15


hegemonic security of an entire historical narrativewhat people can know, and thus even think about. This is why access to info rmation, to documents, remains so critical. Authorship of history equals power, write s Anna Deavere Smith in her introduction to House Arrest a recent work has moved beyond the tape d interview (xiii). The historian, a weaver and perpetrator of the historical discourse, is still part of the historical discourse of his time. Historian E.H. Carr says a hist orian is an accomplice, a protagonist, in the narrated history they choose to tell (Dawson 100). He writes the historian's part, writing the historian's narrative, whether his is cons tructive or subversive, supporting or opposing broader narratives. Documentary dramas should be seen as counter -histories, larger processes of people choosing to tell other or new stories. Theater scholar Gary Fisher Dawson id entifies three unities in documentary theater. These unities, recalling the classic Aristotlean mold, could be considered the pillars upon which documentary dramas stand. They are: one, the Unity of Factual Authenticity, in connection to the correctness and fairness of documented matter relating to the plays content, two, the Unity of Primary Sources, commensurate with recorded and remembered eyewitness accounts in conjun ction to a plays form, and three, the Unity of Piscatorian Stage Devices, opera ting as authentifying sign systems that augment and transmit meaning by way of docum entary theatre stagecraft (Dawson 91). That is to say, in one way or another, a ll documentary plays point to and express their factuality as the heart of thei r project, express that factua lity through the use of primary sources as performance text, and present th em through the mechanical and structural approaches established by Brech t and Piscator. Many plays de viate from or subvert at least one of these uniti es, and as a result this frame b ecomes invaluable in assessing 16


whether or not a play is basically documen tarian, and, if so, how it is employing the documentary mode. There is an enormous diversity of formal approach in modern documentary theater. Carol Martin lists six projects, of whic h all documentary plays could be thought to do at least one. A documentary drama's pr esentation of real events may serve: 1 to reopen trials in or der to critique justice 2 to create additional historical accounts 3 to construct an event 4 To intermingle autobiography with history 5 to critique the operations of both documentary and fiction 6 to elaborate the oral culture of theatre and the theatricality of daily life (22-3). This assessment seems adequate. All six of these projects grappl e explicitly with the experience of trutha true event, a truthful moment, the shared truths of a community, the secret truths behind the a ssumed story, what truths exist in a person's life, and the inescapable limitations of truth. Dramas that 'reopen trials' often take the form of a reconstructed trial themselves, from the transc ripts and extensive notes of the courtroom. This popular 'tribunal drama' is among the most well-known forms of documentary drama. This judgment of truthfulness may be common to the mode; regardless of whether there is truly a court and jury on stage, there is a symbolic tr ial, in which the audience is called to weight the facts and judge accord ingly. History, writes historian Hayden White in Tropics of Discourse, can be set over against literatu re by virtue of its interest in the 'actual,' rather than the 'possible,' which is supposedly the object of representation 17


in literary works (88). The documentary drama, then, may concern itself with is possible actuals. Facts are confronted through our fictions. It is no coincidence that dramatic scripts are located separately from literary fiction in many libraries and bookstores. They do not fit so easily. In my first chapter I will discuss a curre nt perspective on what are currently the biggest questions of documentary drama. First, how do we best present facts, how do we do justice to truth when operati ng in a field so far from that which is being presented? If all true objects presented in a documentary drama are being technologically mediated (through machines or the actors themselves), then the tenuousness, intensity, and volatility of the facts is a matter of utmost concern. Furthermore, for whom is the true story for? What is a documentary play's audience? From the community-specific ethnographic drama to the global-scale interna tional chronicle, audience is an enormous part of the documentary theatrical mode. It is assumed by documentarians that, once equipped with the truth, given knowledge, th e audience will act on that knowledge. The first world greets the prospect of real so cial change with si gnificant doubt, and documentary drama both speaks to and reflects this sentiment. To better illustrate these anxieties, I will follow with a readi ng of two popular documentary plays: Stuff Happens by David Hare, and Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moiss Kaufman. Upon examination, these works refl ect radically different outlooks on the concept of knowledge gained, and created a ve ry different discourse of truth. Almost all documentary dramas deviate from the commona lities of form and f unction that the mode seems to have established. That is, very few documentary dramas entirely adhere to Dawson's three unitiesbetraying one, focusing on another, or toying with all three. This 18


discrete playfulness is comm on among many documentary dramatists, as few exclusively write documentary plays, and reflects the m odes connections to the avant-garde tradition. Despite his profligacy, Richard Nixon has proved to be the most difficult figures to represent in American consciousness, as Thomas Monsell states (12). So many films and dramas have been made about the ma n, taking wildly different approaches and drawing relatively few conclusions, that Monsell devoted an entire book to them: Nixon on Stage and Screen (1998). To my current knowledge, no one has made a real documentary play about Richard Nixon until the production of my own original work that is at the heart of this project. The plays and films that have been made contend with the very notion of Richard Nixon differently, as time continues to significantly change the cultural consciousness surrounding him. So while almost of a ll of the pieces are basically fictive works, they can each be thought to attempt to reveal what is true about the former President, and his location in what I consider to be the American cosmology. My second chapter discusses my own original docum entary drama, Don't Listen to What We Say, Watch What We Do. I will discuss the process of creating my own original documentary theater work from th e Nixon White House tapes. I will analyze and justify the project, including the process of creating the play from the primary sources, and the original research from which they derived. A discussion of the aesthetic framework developed in the writing, as well as the codes of meaning established in the piece will follow. Finally I will discuss the staging and production itself, the feedback, responses, and perceptio ns of the piece that arose out of final performance and later reflection. After this exploration, an d my own extended personal practice, I hope to have 19


arrived at some clarity about the project and problems of documentary theater. 20


CHAPTER 1 CONTEMPORARY ISSU ES IN DOCUMENTARY THEATER The contemporary questions facing documenta ry theater are intimately tied to the issues Dawson's three documentary unities present. Is factuality to real life still a relevant goal for the stage? How do documents serve that factuality, and what are the right ways to show it? Below, I discuss two issues continuing to confront contemporary documentary theater: how sources are used a nd how truth is presented and received, and for what audiences documentary theater is produced. These two questions have been the integral frames of documentary drama since its earliest inceptions but technological and political changes have progressively ch anged and reframed them. An effective confrontation of these two is invaluable for a better understanding of what gives documentary performance its vitality and rele vance. After this framing discussion, I will examine these issues through two dramatic case studies: David Hare's 2004 Stuff Happens and Moises' Kaufman's 1997 Gross Indecency: the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde These two plays reflect and contain some of the key anxieties of documentary presentation, and posit that veracity is achieved in surprising ways. What techniques are employed towards the documentarian use of sources? How is documentary truth presented? How do audience s receive it? How are they expected to? There are no really assured ways to trut hfully present documents on the stage, and dramatists and theater groups have taken very different approaches to even the most basic presentations of documents. Though the process itself is often real ly not too physically complex, and many respond well to its results, much is at stake for the performance. Efficacy and disbelief are not critical functi ons to theatricality, as they are in stage realism; in documentary performance little n eeds to be real for appearancesthe senses 21


may have conventionally less to do with it. Audiences need both more and less convincing. A great deal has been written about th e effect of media on the experience and conception of truth in the modern world, from the rise of modern media in the early twentieth century to now. It seems to be the case across all cultures subjects, and times; when information is presented in the form of media (mediated information from beyond their own first hand sense perceptions), peopl e are often likely to believe it. Patricia Aufderheide comments, Unless we see, we find it hard to believe. Yet seeing does not always facilitate understanding; there is hollowness at the heart of the invitation to identify with the camera-I which can only be filled with demands for more and more sensation (32). Bertolt Brecht noted decades ago, while living through the apotheosis of moving pictures, that the camera's image has become fatally confused with the thing itself (Paget 20). Television, radio, and film, of course, are the most notorious examples. A degree of skepticism exists within the publ ic experience of medi a on the Internet, and has since its start, but it is ha rdly exempt. This skepticism is common at least in part due to the anonymity and lack of accountability of much production on the Internet. News media, however skeptical we may be, manages to grab us with a part icular strength. We are taught to expect its truthf ulness, its reality, and more dangerously, its objectivity. What is so worrisome about these presentations of truth is that even if we refute them, deny them, or refuse to believe them, the pr oduction still exists, as does its claim to truthfulness. A counterexample or oppositional production can be put forth, but it does not necessarily overcome or invalidate the othe r. The previous message, its text, and its adherents are all still out th ere, floating, present, possibl y even profuse and dominant. 22


Much media production never explicitly cl aims its truthfulnessit doesn't need to. The parental fear that vi olent or disturbing imagery wi ll provoke children is evidence of this. Since people are more likely to belie ve the messages in media, getting the 'right' message outthe right truth outbecomes a deeply important process for power structures and all organizations. As Paget sa ys, any information agency will tend to elide the distinction between facts and reality (and hence between those concepts and truth); the more so as that agency claims objectivity (20). Let's hol d for now that facts, reality, and truth, however convoluted, are not the same things. Dangerous grounds, as they are among the most contested con cepts in the cosmology of human thought. This raises us a disturbing and perp lexing question: how do we identify and separate fact and fiction in our heads? No other present question can so easily lead to such doubt, if not ontological terror. Paget calls the doc umentary drama practice a discourse of factuality: The function of this discourse is to ve rify (or appear to verify) what we are seeing. The verifying discourse is almost always imported from nondramatic modes of significationlike the news broadcast, the current affairs programme, and the documenta ry proper. It normally comprises such rhetorical strategies as voice-ove r, captions, charts and statistics, and direct (talking-head) addre ss of the camera/audience. (4-5) All of these strategies have been coded as practices of truthfulness outside of the stage; audiences recognize them easily, and hopefully internalize thei r rhetoric for the play's message. Documentary theater is a hybrid form and does not exist pu rely of itself. Its connections to the real, despite their verac ity, are more tenuous, more fragile. It is no 23


surprise that one of the dominant format s of documentary theater is the courtroom dramaa real life stage where truth is c ontested by conflicting accounts, with serious consequences. Almost all documentary plays explicitly identify themselves as documentary plays, often with a statement of truth within the text itself, either by an actor or in staging. When a playwright claims outright that his play is a documentary, naturally, the experience of its content changes. The first slide in Emily Mann's Greensboro: a Requiem is a representative example. It reads: THE PLAY CONSISTS OF VERBATIM INTERVIEW MATERIAL, COURTROOM TRANSCRIPTS, PUBLIC RECORD AND PERSONAL TESTIMONY. ALL OF THE PLAYS CHARACTERS ARE REAL PEOPLE (Dawson 37). Donald Freed's Inquest and Anna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror from 1992 and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 from 1994, begin with similar slides. Mann and Smith utilize an important technique to claim their honesty (or modesty): they both exist as characters within their dramas. Sm ith's first slide promises the audience that the interviews were conducted by Smith hers elf, and an actress playing Mann conducts several of Greensboro's interviews (Dawson 18). Smith's staging notes obliquely mention her experience of the interview, and it is made clear that the words are addressed to her. This difference is aesthetic and functional, as the artists projects, whatever much they have in common, are very different. They are each, really, Piscatorean ensemble pieces Smith, instead, is a one-woman ensemble: we stand in for her as she stands in for her interviewees. Mann, conversely, puts herself amongst her actors and her subjects, hinting that her account is no less biased and fallible than that of witness, victim, or accused. Both 24


artists pursue truth by getting at the object ive through personal experience. The multitude of subjective accounts and opinions promotes an objective view, implying that the truth, or a truth, is dwelling somewhere between all th ese voices. It is a fact of our culture, says Paget, that most film, and play, make rs seem to assume no issue can be understood unless mediated through a Representative Individual with which the audience can identify (26). While the personal and the subj ective are a potential path towards truthful presentation, they are commonly illusive. I am not sure in either case if one ultimately identifies with Mann or Smith. Mann is put ting herself too deeply into the fray of comprehension to be seen as impartial, nor is she the most present voice; and Smith, the living metonym, both stands in the forefront of her work and vanishes behind her many, diverse characte rs (Favorini xxxvii). In the case of the documentary theate r, the admission of its own weaknesses at presenting or arriving at the truth is a tool itself. This truth claim holds, according to Reinelt, the indexical traces of a real past (21). It signs truth but never is truth. What makes documentary theatre provocative is the way in which it strategically deploys the appearance of truth while inve nting its own partic ular truth through el aborate aesthetic devices (Martin 19). This issue of the appearance of truth is integral to the signifying triumph of which documentary theater is cap able. Onstage words and actions share the quality of each other. All gesture functions as text, and at the same time words become gestural. By physically showing the document and in reading or performing the document onstage, the action allows the document beco mes visiblethe form of the actor, the words, the paper, the book, the projection. Now that the document is seen, and the act of it becoming seen is seen, the audience can judge its worth. 25


It is my opinion that in documentary drama, the process of theatrical mimesis renders the fact/fiction question if not moot, th en at least inaccurate. This split might be evidenced in the way that accounts of film plots often describe the characters in action in terms of their actors, rather than the ch aracters themselves. The performing body is viewed opaquely, in terms of the actor-persona lity, rather than the actor-character (so Omar Sharif keeps calling Peter O'Toole English...). Brecht's concer n over the elision of image/thing itself is not so dire on the stage. The standard, 'fictional' dramatic role exists as Beaudrillard's hyperreal, not only what can be reproduced, but th at which is always already reproduced (Paget 112). There is no original Hedda Gabler or Jrgen Tessmann. For historical dramatic characte rs, like Hamlet or Richard II, we do not judge the text or staging in terms of veracity to the historical figures from wh ich they are variably derived. At least in the case of naturalistic theater, th e 'fictional' character is viewed on 'realistic' terms, even (almost always) when the text does not 'sound' like real language. However non-naturalistic Shakespeare is, good performances are still pr aised for their 'realism.' Documentary performance derives instead from the Brechtian and Piscatorean tradition of acting'cool' performance styles, and a presented sepa ration between actor and character. This metonymic relationship is made more complex when the person presented is a factual, and, shall we say, documentably real person, whose own words the actor speaks. When praising actress Vanessa Redgrave's performance as Joan Didion in the stage adaptation of her memoir, A Year of Magical Thinking Michael Renov writes I find myself thinking of Redgrave as a sympat hetic stand-in [for Didion] (Reinelt 21). This holds true to the form. The author's voice was the text itself and the actress now speaks for her. More often than not, writes Martin, documentary theater is where 'real 26


people' are absentunavailable, dead, disa ppearedyet reenacted (22). Speaking words that are explicitly another's asserts a solid separation, so th at, instead of the theatrical truth being 'in' the actor, it is in the space between the presenting actor and the present, presented audience. Renov goes on to say that Redgrave is a technology for Didion (Reinelt 21). As Didion's 'technology,' Redgr ave is metonymic and understood to be so from the start; she stands in for the author and we know it because Didion herself is not available to perform it, because she is alre ady privileged with the knowledge. The actress' imparting mediation actually serves the truth of the scenario. The actor is in the same list of tools as the projector, the loudspeaker, and the page. The actors presence remains a central force of the stage, but contends he re with the real presence of the document, shifting focus and offering veracity. Many successful modern works of documen tary theater play with the boundaries and limitations of the documentary mode. Co ming out of the modernist tradition, it is always deeply concerned with form; in this case, of course, forms to create the best possible presentation of the factual information. A self-conscious presentation of its own limitations is common in documentary plays; th e frame is always rendered visible, given attention. If it activel y speaks to its own lack, if it presents so many contradictory viewpoints (and rarely a 'right/wrong' appro ach), using so many often disparate media, technologies, and techniques, one begins to feel that the confrontati on itself is the truth the explosion where these forces meet, neve r in a phrase or a moral or a revelation. Slavoj Zizek recalls in an essay that old Lacanian notion that, while animals can deceive by presenting what is false as true, on ly humans (entities inhabiting the symbolic space) can deceive by presenting the true as false (20). Theater, founded upon and 27


historically maligned for illu sion, certainly takes a strange turn in dealing with the sacredly truthful artifacts of society. In presenting the true in the realm of illusion documentary theater brings to the fo re the illusory nature of truth. Another vital and continuing question for the documen tary stage is that of audience. For whom is a play written, fo r whom produced, presented? Considering the political charge of documentary theater, its common interest in audience response and action, the spectating body is always very important to those who produce documentary theater. The staging and the audience itself are in documentary theater more deeply entwined than in conventional theater. Reinelt writes: The documentary theatre calls the public sphere into being by pr esupposing it exists, a nd constructs its audience to be part of a documentary sociality to attend the matters portrayed (11). That theater, unlike film, is a communal experience is unquestioned. Howe ver, it is how that audience responds to the assertion of its own existence that is important. Many plays are made with the initial audi ence in mind from the beginning. This is common in the case of verbatim community pl ays; here, the source of documentary text, the people interviewed, are members of the community for whom the play is produced. Often, the resulting play is made from and th en performed back to the community. More than in other documentary theater, the traditi onal experience of character is turned over. In contemporary dramatic presentation, Bruce Wilshire writes, the pa rticular sink stands in for all possible sinks, so the actor playing th e character stands in fo r all persons of this sort, and we, in the audience, identifying with him and his characterization, stand in through his standing in (xiii). The characters in the drama, when they are peers in the community, are exciting indeed. Members of a community who wouldn't, or couldn't, 28


express themselves within their own community are given voice. The personal, interpersonal, and political nature of thei r own position is given to the community, followed by others. When the performance work s, the community, rather than identifying with the actor-surrogate, manages to identify with its respective members. The basic personal and artistic riskiness of this theater outweighs that of co mmercial, naturalistic theater. This kind of documentary play constitute s something of a subgenre in itself. Due to their specificity, many of these scripts are unpublished or difficult to find. This kind of documentary play overlaps with, or is synonymous the ethnographic drama, or 'ethnodrama,' as coined by Johnny Saldaa. Presenting the real experiences of a community to itself often serves to validate it s existence, the feelings, ideas, and projects of its persons, and to support, promote, and encourage political action, community solidarity, or heightened political and interper sonal awareness. The issue of this efficacy is a greater question than this work aims to discuss, so I only summarize here some of what is at work. Many documentary dramas fit the conception of drama more traditionally. The play is composed, rehearsed and presented to a 'viewing public,' the general theater-going world, whatever the location. The messages and stories in these plays tend to be more abstracted, diffused. The sources employed tend to be wider and more diverse. They are more likely to employ documentary sources beyond a recorded medium, audio and video, and utilize written language, and present multip le kinds of sources throughout the piece. Derek Paget writes of seeing a production of Hare's earlier documentary play about the railroad privatization sca ndals in Blairs England, The Permanent Way : Watching The 29


Permanent Way, my dominant impression was of a metropolitan audience underscoring its own political opposition (t o the Blair government) by endo rsing (sometimes vocally) the view presented by the play a nd thus validating itself (236). The play is somewhere in the middle of these two categorizations. Its community is specific, but that community is the British at large, all of whom have a stake in the status of the nations railways The play presents the crisis and could help to mobilize concerned citizens to assert themselves in th e national experience. In this it should be seen as successful political, documentarian theater. The problem is that the London theater-going public who would attend a play by David Hare about the Railway scandals may already be informed, and already share Hare's positions. Documentary theater, Paget warns in the same example, has always been vulnerable to the charge of preaching to the converted (230). In this case the political experience of the play could be seen to extend little beyond underscoring and self-validation. If so, is th e play really any different from the traditional, self-gratifying theater the founders of political drama so opposed? While critical, Paget does not seem to necessarily think so, nor do I. It is, above all, our fictions put to good use. Wider critical audiences have been repeatedly surprised by the appearance of a documentary play, while academia has known and been writing about it long before Stuff Happens or The Permanent Way Paget attributes this inequity to the always deceptively large gulf between the academy and the rest of the world (232). This is, however, qualified by the very important fact that th e public has forgotten, several times now, about documentary theater. It is, as described above, a broken tradition. Practitioners always have to learn again techniques that seldom get passed on directly. The resultant 30


discontinuity contrasts sharply with the continuity of the tradition of stage naturalism that typifies mainstream Western theatre, as I stated above (Paget 224). Works from the previous generation are rarely if ever revi ved, because of the lack of transmission and institution among documentarians, and cer tainly because of the timeliness of documentary subjects. The past decade has seen the greatest rise in the production of documentary theater since its creation. More documentary pl ays than ever before are being created and performed all over the world. Academic and journalistic writing connect these changes with the 'post-9/11' experience and political environment. Much post-9/11 documentary theatre is etched with the urgency of the strugg le over the future of the past, writes Carol Martin (17). When the stakes are at the greatest geopolitical level, and the victims and actors in the drama exist all over the world, th e public audience who could or should hear and learn from the work expands significantly. Artists depict the pol itical and ontological crisis as spanning the whole modern world. One is required to ask, then, whether or not this crisis really is 'the world's problem.' American and British playwrights live in the countries with some of the greatest spheres of influence; their problem s easily become everyone else's problems. Arguably this documentary appetite may signal an increase in the desire for contact with those indexical traces of a real past in a globalise d world of indecipherable uncertainties (Reinelt 13). As early as 2002, national commentators were responding to a perceptual shift in new theater. A writer from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette proposes three major preoccupations of post-9/11 plays in America: Who are we, as Americans and individuals? How does the world see us? Why? (Rawson 2002). I would agree, and 31


forward that international post-9/11 dramas do the same: asking these questions in their own national milieu, and questioning American identity as well. The crux is this: if, as Beaudrillard poses, the real is that for which it is possible to provide an equivalent reproduction, we are at a point of understa nding that both the true and the false are that which can be reprodu ced, and so that which is real (Paget 112). While it is sometimes quite obvious when so me facts are 'spun,' doctored, manipulated, it is increasingly difficult to identify materi al that is not 'spun.' Active mediation (and mediatization) of information is so comm onplace we tend to think of information in almost exclusively mediated terms. The doc umentary theater audience is being told, however, that mediation is not out of their hands. Having considered a few of the many wa ys the documentary stage struggles to achieve or do right by its project, I will now discuss the discourses of truth created and mediated in Moises Kaufman's Gross Indecency, and David Hare's Stuff Happens. These two plays are potentially the most famous and critically acclaim ed recent works of documentary drama, and yet both fit uneasily within the formal qualities of documentary theater. For this reason these two plays ar e excellent case studies for the amateur producer of documentary theatermy own project discussed below. Moises Kaufman's Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde is the product of an American author and company on one of Britain's most famous trials as well as its most famous artists: Oscar Wilde. Though the work is unconnected to any larger ongoing political struggles, it is centered on the political reality of artistic life, and may in fact be more radical than it first appears. And though also unaffiliated with the genre documentary theaterone does not find the word anywhere in the textit is a 32


consummately documentarian project. Kauf man situates the proj ect in the tradition, though, when he notes this play has been insp ired by techniques used by Erwin Piscator and the young Bertolt Brecht (5). Almost all of the standard theatrical practices of documentary theater are employed, and it has be en hailed by critic s and academics, yet the author does not use the term. Indeed, de spite this, it is probably among the most 'famous' documentary dramas of the mode's new wave. But I contend this omission may be conscious. As I unravel the di scourse of truth carried out in Gross Indecency, some further clarifications of dramatic mode may become clear. As Brechts Private Life of the Master Race may be thought of as a non-documentarian documentary, I conceive Kaufman's Gross Indecency as documentarian non-documentary. As with Stuff Happens, Gross Indecency's central roles are mostly maintained by single actors who do not perform multiple tasks onstage. Here, only the actor performing Wilde keeps that role at all times. The actor s performing Alfred Douglas, Douglas' father, defender Edward Clark, and prosecutor Edward Carson also act as some of the play's eight narrators. All ot her speaking parts are distribute d among the ensemble. This, then, can be as few as nine players: the narrators and Wilde. The pl ay consists almost entirely of documentary text, with relatively little 'connective tissue' to create a historical framework. Preceding most of the documentar ian language is a citation of its source, augmented in the stage directions by the pres ence and display of the book itself. This shifting between the multiple narra tors serves as an alienation from role and conventional characterization; however the actors may pe rform these brief bits. The iconic, physical display of the source of their language also moves the discourse out of their bodies and 'selves' and into the space, the message being 'every word I speak comes from this 33


document'as a swearing of an oath (Dawson 151). In both these ways, a Piscatorian aim of acting and informing is brought about The consistency, and so the repetition, asserts not only the veracity of the s ources, but the play's system itself. The most basic reason for Kaufman's om ission of the documentary label is the play's use of sources. Gross Indecency's main source is actually a secondary source. H. Montgomery Hyde's 1956 book The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde is the definitive text on Wilde's trial and imprisonment, the produc t of a contemporary using contemporary records and recording capabilities. The res ources Hyde, and thus Kaufman, uses were recorded in a time before the technological tools of the doc umentary yet existed, before the term itself had any meaning. The exta nt portions of tr ial transcripts are reconstructions from summaries, shorthand no te-taking, and interview (Kaufman 5). The reconstruction is extensive since many material s were never kept, or are long since lost. The press experience of the event was highl y rendered and editorialized. For Dawson, this mediation is too much. However much it is a triumph and a good play in itself, he labels Gross Indecency a semi-documentary rather than pure documentary play (148). While many documentary plays concern themse lves with historical events, most do not pursue an event a century old. However, the gulf of time between the tr ial and the play has some benefits. The large breadth of other primary sources that Kaufman employs helps to provide for a much greater, and unusual discourse of truth. Because of the distance between the actual trials and Kaufman's writing, many more documents a nd perspectives of not only the trial but of Wilde's life are available. Memoirs, recollections, and autobiographies of Wilde's friends, affiliates, and lovers flesh out a broader historical discourse. Most of these other 34


sources simply did not exist until years af ter the trials, and after Wilde's death. Interspersed through and between the contem porary texts and the reconstructed court cases, a much more complex inquiry, and defense, is made. This transhistorical conversation creates a super-tr ibunal drama. Wilde's defens e is more nuanced, and his defenders more understandable. Sir Edward Clar ke, Wilde's lawyer is then revealed as a member of Wilde's retinue and a lover of hi s art, which the contem porary transcripts and notes do not depict. Distance allows Bernar d Shaw years to write and recollect his unsuccessful counsel, as well as his conflict with Wilde's peers. Most importantly, the system grants Wilde's lover, Alfred Douglas, the ability to testify in the theatrical court, where during the real trials he was forbidden (Kaufman 28). For Kaufman, the documentary here is a means to an end. It brings him to his subject, but he reveals that th e truth he is pursuing is different from documentary truth. The textual heart of the play is Wilde's extended letter De Profundis The play's prologue and first words are a quote from it, and it is the first book an actor holds up onstage. Do not be afraid of the past, the actor playing Wilde begins. If people tell you it is irrevocable, do not believe them (Hare 9). This assertion is an el oquent proclamation of one of documentary theater's key pursuits: to renegotiate, re-imagine, and retake the past. An event scandalized, mediati zed and denounced in its own ti me is now largely forgotten or misunderstood. Kaufman describes the play's path as a journey from Wilde's public into his private persona (Dawson 150). In the latter half of the play, Kaufman's strict signing system loosens. Previous sources reapp ear without announcement and new ones simply manifest themselves. Kaufman deliberately er odes his own structure, stating that as 35


Oscar Wilde's world collapses, so does this formal device (Kaufman 5). The transcript and trial structure implodes in the final trial. Though questioned on other groundshis affiliation with multiple young men, other works of artWilde responds with larger and larger portions of De Profundis written after the trial, in 1897 during his imprisonment, rather than with the statements he made in his defense at the trial itself. Its recitation obliterates the theatrical world that Kaufman establishes, including the character of Wilde himself. With the removal of the play's primary sourcethe flawed, second-hand Hyde textit seems to admit that this text cannot speak for the event and that event cannot perhaps speak for Wilde. What is left is his art, which is immortal. It can be taken up, read, spoken, seen, and have not distor ted or decayed in the century since. I wish to further consider the aesthetic and conceptual uncertainties the post-9/11 discourse has brought to the documentary stag e, and so it is necessary to examine a documentary drama written after 2001. David Hare's 2004 drama Stuff Happens is now not only his most famous play, but also among the most internationally well-known documentary plays in the world. As I relate below, however, Stuff 's documentary status is self-consciously problematized in ways far greater and more dire ct than that of Gross Indecency describing it as troubled or inaccura te does not begin to confront the particular factual slip periness Hare employs. Every year after the 2004 premiere and publication of David Hare's Stuff Happens has been another year that of the United States' occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The estimates and figures of cost and death toll in the play are served by their outdatedness, for they then become another, ever-great er contrast. They ri se higher every day. Stuff Happens operates as a dramatic chronicle of th e events and machinations leading up to 36


the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Hare situates this narrative like a live history lesson, a troubled mix of ostensibly documentary material and i nvented scenes. A shifting ensemble of actor narrators present the opening ci rcumstance, the world scene around from the start of the Bush presidency to 2004, and its key player s: the casts of the Bush, Blair and Chirac cabinets, Hans Blix, and Saddam Hussein. Hare assures the reader th at nothing in the narrative is knowingly untrue, and that furthermore the actual contents of th ese discussions were corroborated by sources and connections Hare will not reveal (1). The narrative weaves in and out of a documented history of the path towards invasi on, and the backroom meetings that push it forward. In the 'documentary' portion, the f acts of troop movement, press conferences, and public statements are organized and presen ted, the leaders and officials 'say' what they really said in public, at the summons of the narrators Though Hare rarely cites the sources, dates, or exact circumstances of these words, a moments research can find seemingly all of the interviews, public statements, and reactions on record. The 'backroom' scenes, cabinet meetings, secret de als, and accords are freely written by Hare. When the doors close on the world's leaders and on their entourages, then I have used my imagination, he writes (1). This statement poses that Hare's imagination is capable of constructing what really happened in thes e meetingsand then being correct. He, as artist, author, and ideologue, is that in-control of the narrative. In these scenes, the world leaders are presented more as traditional characters in a drama than agents in a historical discourse, alone with each other without cont extualizing accompaniment, and ignorant of their observation by the audience. Millions live daily with the destructiv e consequences of the choices made. The 37


events occurred, but they are stil l going onit is as much about the present, if not the future, as it is the past. Rather than create a pa st that just reflects the present, there is a past that operates on the presen t. This, of course, contributes to a feeling of helplessness that pervades the work. That anxiety arises partly out of the fact that the events are presented at all. The readers recreates them, all the while sitting in his chair, and the spectator watches them, all the while sitting in his seat. They are 'in the room' with the instigators of the conflict, and can do nothing. Stuff Happens situates itself as, and, in a way, therefore is the essential post-9/11 drama. It details the American and internati onal experience of 9/11, and some of its most direct results, or reactions. As such, it is a post-9/11 drama of the post-9/11 drama. I feel justified in this vociferous use of the term with regard to this play. Hare's Rumsfeld uses it himself as the grounds in his final confront ation about the plan of invasion. It's about risk, says President Bush. Rumsfeld replies: That's what its about. In this new world, in this new post-9/11 world. (He shakes his head). And that is something which all grown-up people understand (H are 100). Rumsfeld, represen ting and among those with the power to dictate that which is true, that which is real, decl ares it so, just as his titular statement rendered the chaos of Saddam's overt hrow politically irrelevant. The modern insecurity, malleability, and danger of facts is always close to the drama. I'll tell you what's legitimate. What we do is legitimate, Rumsfeld says earlier (Hare 99). The agents who create what is true also create that which is untrue. In the London and New York casts, th e principal rolesBush, Powell, Rice, Blairare held exclusively by an actor who pe rforms no other roles. On the page, this causes these 'quotations' of the dozens of othe r characters who app ear to read like the 38


quotations in a book; they are summoned, they appear, then you pass by them. The play is structured in two acts and 24 s cenes. Five of these scenes are monologues, framed to be in the 'present' or at least after the 2003 invasion and spoken by anonymous persons listed as 'viewpoints.' They operate as something of a chorus, coming from different standpoints on the milieu. Their topic of discussion is the heart of the drama, and their difference reflects the difficulty of addressing the subject at hand. Is it 'the Iraq invasion,' 'the state of the world,' 'the act of politics,' or any of these? We are given the impression that the forces at work are too great for their themes to control them. We cannot ascribe a subject to the real. Because of their rawer language and particular candor, one feels as though these viewpoints are from interviews, perhap s personally done by Hare. But there is no way to know. Their anonymity may very well be for their protection, but it somewhat weakens the effectiveness of their messages, since Hare's message everywhere else is bold. The 2006 revised text features an add itional scene discussing Colin Powell's resignation from the Bush cabinet (Hare 117-8) It also the longest verbatim interview transcript in the play, multiple questions and answers together in a page's worth of text. Of course, the footage from which this is taken was previously selectively edited by the BBC, multiple layers of filtration ever presen t. Powell tersely qualifie s the shifting of his tactics and messages that led up to the war, ultimately dismissing his accusations, his actor, his text, and himselfhi s final exit in the play. The sharpness of his words and the shortness of the interview serve as a final i ndictment of what prev iously may well have been the play's protagonist. He may then be rendered as powerle ss as the audience over the plays events. It is hard ly exoneration, and this closing is not tragic. The real-life 39


Powell survives as an eminent public figure, however internationally shamed he may be. But his former colleagues then appear as ones who got away with it. They carried out a crime so huge, and so multifarious that for it there is no functional word. The framing 'viewpoints' cannot agreethe facts create mo re uncertainty than they do certainty. Rumsfeld said stuff happens but their chorus forces the question what happened? A discussion of Stuff Happens inevitably comes upon a particular linguistic confusion. Discussion of the play's events and their real life c ounterparts can easily muddle the tense. As such, I will attempt to be as clear as possible when referring the scenes of the play and the real life scenes th ey concern. A very important kind of real is missing from the playthe conflict itself. Bu sh, Blair, their cabinets and agents, and the UN are the instigators and players in the production of the invasion, but the invasion is nowhere in sight. The closest we get to the wa r is the stage directio ns call of air raid sirens in the distance (113). The distance is vitalan intractable gulf of space and time. The 'Lacanian Real,' a Real in its extreme violence as the price to be paid for peeling off the deceptive layers of reality, is nowhere to be found (Zizek 6). It is the people in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans and natives, soldiers and civilians, who know what is really happening. If anyone's experience is unmediated, it is theirs. Th e real atrocities are those occurring on the ground and in the streets across the world Bush and Rumsfeld's only order them. The absence of any representation of the war beyond the sirens and the figures recalls the American media's near co mplete absence of documents of the invasion. The fact that the only military uniform seen in the whole play is the infamous flight suit President Bush wears during his Mission Accomplished spectacle reinforces the allusion to mediatized presentation (Hare 113). 40


But the same authenticity which Zizek cl aims to reside in the act of violent transgression is in the center of the intern ational spectacle: 9/11 itself (6). A symbolic order, enacted through an enormous physic al object, was ruptured by that objects complete obliteration. And though only one of many devastating and deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated all over the world all the time, its scope, its mediatization and repetition seemed to render its re sultant shifts universalizing. Stuff Happens is spoken of in the same conversations as hundreds of other modern documentary plays, but its writer does not id entify it is a documentary play. David Hare calls Stuff Happens a history play, which happens to centre on very recent history (1). If Stuff Happens is a history play, Hare is then not bound to a strict presentation of true events that a documentary drama would requir e of him. He can explore, he can subvert, and more importantly, he can freely and vivi dly utilize his own, pr esent authorial voice. The play is heavily narrated by speakers w ithin the ensemble, listed when guiding the story as 'An Actor.' Their clean, uncited journey resembles the fi nely-processed narrative of a history book. A historian may have compiled hundreds or thousands of resources to construct his narrative, but he may display none of them to ultimately tell his story. Documents, when excerpted, are heavily edite d and abridged. This is normal historical practice. We are inclined to think that Hare's own resear ch, as he proposes, was extensive. But Hare is still more flagrant with his lack of specific citation. Many journalists, speakers, and interviewers ar e cited anonymously throughout th e text, or the exact date and time of these words is omitted. With the whole play in scope, Hare's omissions become elisions. No matter how Hare goes about de scribing his play as a history, Stuff has too 41


much in common with documentary theater to be dismissed. If we take into account the sensitivity to language that Hare depicts throughout the pl ay, and we agree with Mann saying 'words have meaning,' than there is one an open thread in his wording of his author statement: surely a play, not a documentary (Hare 1). Refusing to identify the work as documentarian, he may be in fact le nding greater credence to his tale's content. In the world in which these events exist the real one Hare is posing one unnerving possibility: that the play is ba sically as documentary as it can be. In a scene where truth is controllable, if not controlled, Hare is sp inning right back. What resources Hare has access to, he has used, what records are ava ilable, he quotes. The rest is hidden, lost, misdirected, or silent, or sile nced. How untrue, really, are the imagined meetings when their occurrences are documented and their result s undeniable? Stuff Happens is reflective of a shift in historical presentation in all modern theater. It is emblematic of what I might cal l the 'modern historical drama.' The rise of documentary, and documentary theater, has turn ed historical drama more documentarian. One finds the document, and the documentarian, in more and more historical dramas. The ever-increasing modes of access to docume nts, which are the rootcause, evenof history makes their closeness to an audience in tegral to the experien ce of the truth. Many histories are capable of and perhaps increasingly obligated to behave in documentarian modes in the continuing quest to present the truth onstage. Why are two of the most famous and widely performed documentary dramas not proper documentaries? For one, the rather utilitarian approach of some documentary theater may be unappealing to theater audi ences without a close connection to the material. Furthermore, the political nature of the documentary play certainly incites 42


common anxieties about political arteven though both of these plays are themselves highly political. The common thread in these two works, at least, may be that Kaufman and Hare each examine the ways in which a document can and cannot speak for itself. This curious dilemma is central to the con ception and consideration of my own drama, Don't Listen to What We Say, Watch What We Do, which I will discuss in the following chapter. Though perhaps a historical documen t par excellence, and incomparably candid, the Nixon Tapes point to some of the seri ous limitations of the documentary mode. Many films and stage works have been created about the lif e and affairs of Richard Nixon. By the end of his presiden cy and for the rest of his life, Nixon's presentation was, and even remains, subject to extreme ridicule and parody. Attempts to deal with this national figure in an honest way are often confounded by the fact that his own words, presented candidly on his White House tapes, collude his malignant social construction. As a result, Nixon's own words are tied to all of th e media surrounding him. Every portrait, parody, and study quotes th e real-life Nixon, however fictionalized the works own Nixon is. The continuing variety and profus ion of Nixon-based media reflects a particular anxiety about national narrative. The scale of his machinations renders dismissals or morals of national healing in adequate. A conclusion has not been drawn as to what Nixon did to America, and what he himself means. Some documentary theater refuses its ow n truthfulness and in so doing may atone for its theatrical illusionism. Others utilize theatricality as a promise of truth, knowing that only sound, lights, and bodies are at work before the judging audience. Most of the fictions that claim to be b ased on a true story operate on an audience almost wholly ignorant of that story. As such, audiences have little ground to refute the presentation 43


before them. But what about when that true story is one everyone knows? The seemingly unending representations of Richard Nixon, the ultimate black sheep of American political life, tell widely different storie s about a figure whose facts are assured, whose materials are (more or less) accessible, and whose life was enormously public. What this may imply is that people do not know what that true story is. In the following chapter, I will describe my own attempt to make a story from Nixon's documentary remains, the product of which was produced at New College in February 9th and 10th of 2011. 44


CHAPTER 2 THE MAKING OF DONT LISTEN I will now discuss my experience making Don't Listen to What We Say, Watch What We Do. I was its author and producer, and have been completely involved in every period of the work's existence. I will de scribe its earliest inceptions, the writing experience, and the production its elf, including interviews with the other participants in the play. Unless stated otherwise, tapes refers to Nixon's White House recordings. I first discovered the Nixon tapes on line in the spring semester of 2009. My roommate at the time was researching the Stasi, and I myself was happily engaged in history study. We discussed hi s project extensively, and discovered we shared a mutual interest in the problems of arranging the historical record, put aptly by Carol Martin: everything you see is part of the archive, but not everything in the archive is part of the documentary (18). When we found nixontap, we were amazed by all it had to offer. The resource was immense and myst eriousand, as I would later understand, unnavigable to the uninitiated. I was quickly engrossed by the peculiar la nguage of the tapes. I was aware that the tapes would contain sometimes ugly, often absurd candid dialogue between the most powerful men in America, but that did little to prepare me for what they really were really like. A constant sense of conf usion is juxtaposed with th e utmost gravity and absurd pettiness. The people caught on them are so odd and inscrutable; I was quickly enthralled, and my roommate and I began to listen to many different recordings. When we came upon a phone call from the evening of April 13th, 1971, I knew that ther e was art within the tapes. This recording was, to me, an art ob ject in itself (I would, in fact, play it on my radio show at the time that year). This sa me recording, months later, became the final 45


discussion between Nixon and Kissi nger in the finished play. In the following school year, my roommate and I unsuccessfully attempted to stage the phone call in a shor t theatrical project. During th is work I began my first research into documentary theater. Many of the texts and artists I read then have informed me the whole way since; some even a ppear in my bibliography. Plays like Gross Indecency Fires in the Mirror, and Stuff Happens thrilled and fascinated me. These plays served as my first foray into th e canon of documentary drama. Despite our failure to stage the project, my friend convinced me of the nobility of making a documentary play derived from the Nixon tapes. In January 2010, I traveled to Washington, DC to conduct a historical resear ch project on the vari ous Presidents' White House tapes. While there, I transcribed several Nixon tapes from different years to acquaint myself with the material, and with the complex Finding Aid software provided by the National Archives. This proved to be an invaluable asset, even though my own transcriptions from this time are lost. I listened to many hours of real cassette tapes, archived chronologically in long cabinets. It was a true documentary challenge; the record was incomparably rich, but no immediate narratives arose, little commonality, no shape. I now knew how to use the finding aids to search for specific materials. I now knew what was available to me online, and so I could, in a way, write the play without the National Archives at all. My challenge in the following months was to create a specific inquiry, and to make it into a work of theater. The question itself was enormous: what kind of play was I to make? There is enough dialogue in the tapes to make thousa nds of plays. In the spring of 2010, I was attracted to the models of masculinity presented by the back-room dealing throughout 46


the tapes. How did men with untold amounts of power, influence, money, and control operate? Who were their friends? How did they eat? What worried them? What didn't? I eventually dropped this projec t because it presented too diff icult a challenge for me; I lacked a theoretical background, and casting mu ltiple male actors at New College has always been difficult. I unde rstood that I needed to perfor m the play with a small cast, and I had to overcome not only focus, but also my reliance on male bodies. What's more, finding tape material that speci fically addressed issues of ma sculinity was too difficult. I felt that throughout the tapes, al l the really telling material was in the subtexts, in the omissions, and in the small talk, for which th e finding aids aren't very helpful. A later model, based on the notion of lie s within the tapes, failed for the same reasons. I was not satisfied with an open, unfocused use of the ta pes, yet could not find material I was sure I wanted. At the time, I did not know how to look. I was never interested in making a piece a bout Watergate. I felt that territory was well-trodden at best, and discus sions with several adults c onfirmed this feeling. What's more, I didn't think I could develop anything ne w to say bout it. I had, since my time at the National Archives, been attracted to the earlier recordings, and considering that the majority of the tapes have only been declassifi ed in the last decade, I was attracted to the earlier material. The question, then: what matte red about the early tapes? If the material was not ostensibly vital to American hi story, and had not become so since its declassification, what opportunities did it pr ovide dramatic, conceptual, historical? I wrote Don't Listen to What We Say, Watch What We Do in the fall of 2010. I finished my first draft on December 6th and an expanded, much corrected second draft on December 14th. This second draft contained all the material and the basic working order 47


of scenes that appeared in the final produc tion. Many choices, including those I consider among my best, were made in quick su ccession. I added and dropped scenes, and rearranged whole sections. The final play is in twelve scenes, five of them verbatim excerpts from the tapes. These five were sel ected from eleven hours of material recorded on April 13th, 1971. The play focuses on the record of this day and the ongoing themes therein. I chose this day in part out of affec tion: it was the first Nixon tape recording that struck me. The more I researched the day, the richer the days political environment became, the more fascinating the conversations I found. Of the six primary narrative tactics of documentary theater, as posed by Martin, the piece I developed may fit into two: to cr eate an additional historical account and to construct an event (22-3). The event, in this case, is the day leading up to Richard Nixon's first statement on the direct opening of relations with China. While undeniably a diplomatic landmark, the statement has been overlooked in lieu of its resultant event (Nixons 1972 visit to China), and its ultim ate results (the longstanding economic and political alliance with China). As the da y quickly reveals, huge amounts of time and effort, including extensive secret communica tion, were expended to reach these points. This is not in itself a surprise, but the outright schisms of knowledge between the executive branch of the United States govern ment, Congress, the State Department, the CIA, and the general public is only graspabl e when breathed in the anxieties of the nation's most powerful men. Control of the narra tive is of desperate importance, and it is constantly threatening to escape them. The me n on the tapes exist in a world where truth and fiction exist together constantly, intertwi ned. Perhaps no information is shared that is not partially constructedand everyone knows it. Nothing can be said straight; what you 48


know, who you know, who you could tell, is always a conscious part of the agenda. What strikes me now more than anything is that the experience of the tapes and the experience of the play ask the same question of the spect ator: what kind of document is this? This is one question I wish to ask my audience. The play may also, then, employ another of Martin's tactics: to critique the operations of both documentary and fiction (23). At the height of authority in the country, where almost any information that can be found about anything can be accessed (or not) and acted upon (or not), crisis seems to be normal and practically constant. In the highest halls of power, almost no one ever se ems to know exactly what they are doing. How, then, to construct a narrative of such chao s? It is a presentati on of a historical nonevent, begging the question of whet her or not it provides insight. As such, my primary goals with the text were: to illustrate a portion of the dynamic of executive powerextreme, diffus e, fragileand the c onstant struggle to stem disaster while also maintaining contro l and presenting authority and competence. I hoped that a reader and audience wo uld be able to recall, or acce ss, a sliver of an era that has not only passed, but has then been unevenly or selectivel y forgotten. I also hoped that these incomparably candid primary sources might provide some additional perspective on the office of the Presidency, especially that of the office's most notoriously elusive one. For the sake of the reader, and for myself, I will summarize the script. Two speakers perform a short phone call between Nixon and Henry Kissinger from the night before the play's central day: April 13, 1971. After this, the four speakers collectively introduce the Nixon tapes, providi ng a historical context for the following scenes. A tape from earlier in 1971 is performed, wherein th e Nixon and his two aides who knew of the 49


tapes' existence discuss thei r installation. From here, a sp eaker reads from Haldeman's diary of the same day, summoning the conve rsations he mentions. After that, the White House's Daily Diary becomes the frame to vi ew more conversations. The conversations occur when they are recited from the time-tabl e, a sort of conjuration. After a few more scenes, an interlude follows, in which one sp eaker performs an interview with author William Burroughs. The reading of the Daily Diar y continues, and two more scenes from the tapes are performed. Finally, all four sp eakers, as Nixon, give his statement to the press from the next day, and the play ends. I divided the text among four actors, wh om I labeled 'Speaker' one through four. Like the 'Narrator' figures in Kaufman's Gross Indecency and other documentary dramas, the speakers move in and out of the various te xts, rather than any of the 'characters' within. I think of them as agents of the hist orical inquiry. They are actors and historians, and curious citizens. I made sure that they are also just the peopl e performing the play. This approach was aesthetic as well as practical; the President is on every tape, and unless his lines were split up, one actor woul d then have the majority of the play's dialogue. I decided early in my writing proce ss that this was absolutely not what I wanted. The 'Speaker' system provided the mo st open way for me to tell my story. The play's formal approach, its content, and its 'plot' often developed simultaneously. The tapes are framed by the days two conflicting narratives: the White House's own log of President Nixon's day, and Presiden tial Aide Robert Haldeman diary entry. Their overlaps and omissions make up the hear t of the project. E ach one has access to information the other does not, and either cannot or does not addr ess certain issues, meetings and conversations. Each frames the day very differently. Robert Haldemans 50


omissions are as interesting as what he in cludes in his discussion of the day. An incredibly busy man who worked independent ly, Haldeman could only know so much of what occurred that day to and around the Pr esident. One of the actors, performing as Haldeman, reads his entire diary entry aloud. The Daily Diary, shared in reading by the whole cast, brushes over scenes that Haldeman 's diary conjured ear lier in the play, and vice versa. This structure solidified relatively late into the writing process. I was working to find new material as late as my second draft. In my approach to citation, I derive d my practice mostly from Kaufman's Gross Indecency and Anna Deveare Smith's House Arrest. The actors speak the citations of text (From Melvin Small's The Presidency of Richard Nixon) directly. Many names and dates are also presented as supertexts. Th is approach helps emphasize the attempted transparency of my sources, and my access of them. I was interested in using resources beyond the tapes themselves. I was, and st ill am, drawn to the use of non-spoken language on the stage. To me, one of documenta ry theater's most exciting linguistic habits is its use of non-dramatic language from pr imary sources: diaries, essays and books, log entries, timetablesrather than just tran scripts, interviews. I think traditional, 'naturalistic' dramatic language rests so mewhere in between. It is ostensibly not how people really speak, but it is meant to be spoken. In some ways it is the 'real' language of the stage: a condensed, perfected speech I thi nk audiences tend to accept. In this context, the historical language of my documents, a nd the raw, peerless language of the Nixon tapes are both intense departures from normal monologue and dialogue. I took dramatic liberty in my construc tion of the cabinet meeting scene and the first conversation between Nixon and Kissinger. Th ese are also my least 'naturalistic' uses 51


of dialogue in the drama. I consciously us e the term constructe d, although composed also seems apt. While I proudly say that I wrote this play, making these scenes felt the most like an act of construction. In the case of the cabinet scene, I used two pages of dialogue from the hour-long recording of the meeting and selections of bullet points. These texts are mostly in the order the mee ting itself took place. None of the speakers are identified as any of the dozens of attendees. Rather than take on any roles, they speak fragments out of a morass of information. Thro ughout this scene, the fourth speaker reads the attendance sheet to illustrate this. I completely invented the first di alogue between Ni xon and Kissinger from Haldeman's diary. This conversation does not se em to be on the tapes, nor on the logs of any of the finding aids. There is no way to te ll where this convers ation occurred, and no way to retrieve it. Despite this, the subject matter was in teresting enough that I felt obligated to give it a voice. To fit my approach throughout the play, I wrote Nixon and Kissinger's words as bullet points, as though th ey had come from one of the logs. This prevented me from having to write as the characters, and to present, within an abstracted scenario, a subtle criticism of the list of even ts included in the basic American narrative. What qualifies as a President's greatest cha llenges? Nixon and Haldem an cannot seem to decide. The personal, the political, and the nati onal are muddled, and at the very peak of authority these distinctions clearly weake n. And from whose pers pective does the public derive a President's greatest challenges? The invitation to some wordplay was also enticing. Although I did not write as the characters, while trying to mimic their manners of speech, interests, alleged pe rsonality traits, I could not he lp but consciously assign the linguistic games toward some personal ideas of who these people are. At the end of the 52


scene, the speaker who performed Nixon admits the scene is not on the tapes. This, I hope, frees me from some culpability to a w holly 'true' presentation. I aimed to stretch and challenge my signing system, to bring to the fore the inescapable contrivance of my documentary approach. In contrast, in a scene like Nixon and Kissinger's final conversation on Vietnam and China policy, I took no liberties with the dialogue. Nixon and Kissinger speak, alone and seemingly unguarded, on the phone. Th eir dialogue is arranged between two speakers, with footnotes generously insert ed in between. I nonet heless feel similar anxieties in the rendering of the scene. A 'reconstruction' feels no less dubious than a construction. Interpretation is active in both, but in different capacities. The former scene is a construction of Haldeman's account, but al so a critical arrangeme nt of the rendering of a taped scene altogether. In the latter, reconstructed scene, I am basically presenting a more 'true' scenario, but the truth is implic it, implied, expected, expecting both more and less from an audience. The interlude scene was a late decision in the writing experience. I came upon the interview with William Burroughs a few weeks be fore finishing the play and was not at first drawn to include it. The interview itself came from Harpers magazine in 1975. Burroughs was among several interviewees, including Ronald Reagan and Eugene McCarthy, asked, when did you stop wanting to be President? I wanted to include an extended text (preferably a m onologue) from outside my prim ary sources. Eventually, I decided that Burroughs' interview reflected enoug h of the play's own thematic material to merit entry. Its audacity and ch aracteristic eccentricity made it an excellent interlude. So I simply placed it roughly in the middle of my script. The additional distribution of 53


speaking parts was easy. One of my favorite devices employed in documentary dramas is the creation of a dialogue from one or mu ltiple sources. By separating Burroughs' quoted speech, reciting the words of the real and imag inary figures in his tory, I continued my system of spreading text out between all of the actors, and gave them all something to do during the long monologue. Situated between two dialogues displaying the tension and the schism between public presentation a nd private agenda, Burroughs' message is demonstrative of some of the palliative a nd manipulative dynamics of political power some or all of which follow after the interlude. I entered the production phase of the show with sparse but resolute ideas about the staging. My fellow student and colleague Randi Reams took the job of directing the play. I had worked with her and under her directi on and knew we could collaborate well. She and I shared the plays production duties, whil e I let her take as much control of the staging as she wanted. Early on, we emphasized to our actors the tapes importance to this endeavor. We gave them separate audio file s of all the scenes, and reque sted that they learn their dialogue along with them, and lis ten to them as frequently as possible. It was important that they come as close to the way each voice speaks as possible. How do they stutter? What do they repeat? How and when do they sh arpen, soften, raise or alter their voices? Do they sound tired, or energetic? The four act ors had voices very different from that of all of their subjects (e specially the Pres ident, of course). The rhythm, the pacing, and the methods of intonation were by far the most important elements for them to understand and employ towards one of their characters. In terms of characteri zation, we instructed that no actor was to psychologize their brief performance, and that interpretation should 54


be minimal. Actor Sara Stovall considered this approach successful; she found herself able to craft enjoyable perfor mance structures without a grea t deal of context about the events and the persons themselves, and wh ile she enjoys psychological work, did not consider its absence an impediment. The cons tant sharing and switc hing of roles helped to ensure not only that audiences not identify any actor as a character, but also to ensure that no single perception of the characters would prevail. The Nixons the audience watched were more a result of the actors' trusted interpretations than my own. The rendering of Richard Nixon was, of cour se, of particular interest to me. Each actor developed a distinctly di fferent application of elements of Nixon's voice. They came to orbit around a Nixonian idiom, as my friend Ryan Ray proposedtheme and variation around an idea, gesture, look and style. But what is the theme of a person? This is a troubling question. I was able to recogni ze 'Nixon-ness' in all of their styles and approaches, but these performances were al l quite different. The actors alternate manifestations displayed varying interests. For instance, actor Alex Cline had only two lines as Nixon of which there is concrete source material: th e video of his April 7 speech. I had felt that his Nixon was the most stilte d, most resembling the parodic exaggeration that later generations have taken as Nixon. Having this kind of presence among the cast, in fact, broadened the spectrum of presenta tion the play afforded. Nonetheless, some adult audience members strongly identified with his voice. Others focused more on diction, his st utter and intonation, the shaping of his mouth, the rise and fall of hi s emphases, creating variably 'realistic' voices. Some Nixons were heavier, lighter, looser, and tighter than others. Michael Anderson effectively worked towards the surprising speed of Nixon 's speech on the tapes. The separation of 55


character through multiple actors also concretely grounded the issue of the bureaucrats political compartmentalization. The Nixon who speaks to Haldeman, to Kissinger, to Peterson, and to Yaztremski is one person, but he operates on multiple valences of speech, of self-presentation, of confidence and security, seemingly not the same person in each tape. This states explicitly that no 'portr ait' of Nixon is going to be arrived at from the play, or, I sometimes feel, rather pessimistically, is really plausible. As they came to spend possibly more tim e with the tapes than I had, they often found additions or corrections to the language in the conversations. Multiple listenings helped the actors discover a more satisfying meaning out of muddled passages. Furthermore, the actors were more comfortable with a script that accurately reflected the recorded voices they were repr oducing. I made the actors add itions part of the later text. The play was therefore co-edited by its entire cast, as is common among many strains of documentary theater. One of the biggest risks I felt with re gards to staging the words that I had assembled was that of the historical langua ge sounding overly pedantic. In a way, the play does operate as a history lesson, but I di d not want for it to be performed as such. I strongly encouraged the actors to speak the dry itinerary languag e of the texts sections of historical explication as persona lly and as simply as possible. I absolutely did not want to hear 'documentary,' voice-over style speech fr om my actors. While I knew that a lecture style was absolutely not what I wanted, I wa s often unsure what alternatives there were. My favorite recitations occurred when the speakers were able to tell the historical information to each other. This encouraged my staging conception of the speakers as agents of the historical inquiry. They are in a process together. Late into rehearsal, I 56


conceived that the best way to help overcome a stiffness of language would be to have the actors write the historical explanations themselves. I thought the actor's own words may be easier for them to sayworth trying in another staging or dramatic work. Although most scripts are not explicit about this, many documentary plays are staged with mostly or entirely open casting. When promoting subsequent performances of her originally solo documentary plays, in this case House Arrest, Anna Deveare Smith encourages non-representational open casting (xvii). In her introduction to Twilight: Los Angeles she suggests, on the whole, that actors match the genders of their characters, but does not rule out the effective portrayals of different-gendered players (7). She herself, after all, performs all the men in her work. In terestingly, in her suggested arrangement the cross-gendered roles are exclusively female actor to male character. For this she offers no explanation. I am strongly in s upport of non-standard, non-naturalistic casting, and was interested in this in my production. After all, desp ite changes in my thematic approach, the tapes themselves still featured men exclusively. I cast three men and one womanMichael Anderson, Alex Cline, Dolan Cochran, and Sara Stovallinto the four speaking parts early in the writing process, in the fall of 2010. I made these casting choices from those with whom my director and I had work ed previously. I felt I could trust and would gladly see thes e four almost every day for the duration of the production. Although I am now satisfied with the arrangement and dist ribution of texts beyond the first performance, there was some uncertainty in a proper or effective arrangement of the dialogue between the four speakers. While writing, I chose to arrange speakers to the character by whom among my ca st I wanted to perform which scenes. I accounted for their strengths and weaknesses as actors and as speakers. In a different 57


setting and staging, I would pr obably maintain the script's division of text, but would very much want to stage the play with a more non-standard cast, or with an all-female cast. The splitting of Nixon between four separa te actors was among the most complex procedures in the production, and required forethought and delicacy of execution. This device is a consummate technique of theatrical alienation. President Nixon, as I have discussed, is a particularly difficult person to represent. What's more, throughout the play, his words are shared by four people, and he is not always 'on' onstage. To handle Nixon, Randi and I decided to use costume and pr op pieces towards a symbolic system of presentation. We employed a bright red clip -on tie; whoever wore it performed Nixon in the following scene. The actors would slowly and deliberately put the tie on before their scene, then take it immediatel y after in the same fashion. Th at actor would then give the tie to the next speaker performing Nixon before they began. On a neck, or in a hand, or being tucked into a pocket, the tie was handled more than other object in the play. Audiences could acceptably focus on it; we gave it the greatest power in our play's symbolic order. We wanted our actors to have a mostly uniform appearance, finally culminating in matching suits: two navy, two gray. The shared gesture managed to partially separate local, community identities from their performing selves. We intended for the audience to still see the actors as the students our audience dealt with on a daily basis, but now more, and less, than just that. What's more, the suit brings moral and conceptual dynamism to a body, conferringor failing to conferauthority, legitimacy, competency, and professionalism. Actor Sara Stovall referred to her costuming experience as executive 58


drag, and personally relished wearing a suit. The image of four similarly-dressed people working in collusion was compelling and adaptable, and the profiles of Nixon and his colleagues settled nicely as a layer upon that image. The stage consisted of four fields or zones: a podium, an office desk with neighboring chair, a conference table with fi ve chairs, and a room, delineated by a green cushioned chair, a coat rack, and a short table with a phone, record-player, and lamp. Each area was 'activated,' by an actor's pr esence; when no one was in the area, it was entirely unlit, such as the room for most of Act I, and the podium on and off throughout. Actors stood at the podium to present large white note cards containing names and positions of figures mentioned in the text when their identification did not merit full interruption of the scene. Th e elevated desk functioned as the office of Nixon, Kissinger, and Colson in various scenes. Whenever the space functioned as the Oval Office, the speaker would take a red rotary phone out from the desk, Nixon's hotline to the Kremlin.' The phone itself is never used or touched othe rwise, nor was its use necessary. In a drama mired in Cold War subterfuge, the aura and suggestiveness of the 'red phone' was enough. The conference table was the only space that was almost always occupied. It actually only served specifically as a conferen ce table once, in the Cabinet meeting scene, and once as Peter Peterson's desk. Otherwise it acted as a sort of neutral space where actors who were not in conversations waited. When occasion called for it, they would interrupt scenes (with a cha nge of lighting) and explain the circumstance. Afterward, lighting would switch again a nd the conversation continued. Sometimes the actors would converse with one another in the neutral sp ace, and drank water from mugs. In every scene but the Interlude, the room was specifica lly meant to represent the Lincoln Sitting 59


Room in the White House, a place to which Nixon often retreated in isolation. I was interested in employing theatrical music to forward a scene's discourse or critique its process, rather than augm ent the action. Dawson and Paget respectively identify the Piscatorian use of music in two ways: as organically related to an acting moment, and as critique (instead of support) (Dawson 32, Paget 54). My own selections were all works by romantic or la te romantic composers: Tchaikovsky, Grieg, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. I chose classical works from this period because of Nixon's own love of romantic music, and the 'ser ious' tone classical music lends cultural production, especially in documentaries. The main theme of Tchaikovsky's1st Piano Concerto opens and closes the play, played ve ry loudly. It is bombastic and sentimental, and conveys a feeling that life goes on.' The actions take n by the Nixon administration occurred far in the past. We live with their consequences ev ery day. The songs repetition presents the plays events as episodic, part of an unspeakably vast bureaucratic drama. I use an excerpt from the same concerto during the historical explica tion. Here, I wanted to toy with a more conventional use of classical music in the documentary mode, familiar to television viewers, where stock footage and images of supposedly relevant objects and documents appear while a cool, composed narr ator speaks above pleasant classical music. The song began as Michael Anderson rose from the desk to begin the shared explanation, comically building in volume and complexity with the addition of more speakers. The sentimental approach, however, was subverted when the music drew the attention to the first theatrical removal of Nixon's tie. The controlled illusion of the documentary is exposed, and the system of information is presented in full. In the plays final tape conversation, Nixon sits in the Lincoln Sitting Room, 60


listening to a piano concerto on his record play er. As in performance, he cuts Kissinger off during an orchestral swe ll, and takes an unusually long time to turn the music down and return to the phone. This phenomenon was among the first in the Tapes that first attracted me. I knew that in a realized performance of this scene, we would need to recreate this musical moment as closely as possible. The song would need, furthermore, to be played on a record play er, so that the actor would ha ve the best control over the manipulation of volume. This proved very diff icult, and I was unable, despite months of searching, to find the piece of music Nixon was so relishing. We attempted the scene with moments from several different romantic piano concertos, and finally discovered a section from Grieg's Piano Concerto in A-Minor that had co ntours of melody and dynamics that matched the recording well enough to be a suitable substitute. Despite difficulties assuring a proper starting point (so that Nixon may put down the phone just before the great orchestral sw ell), the moment began to f unction, and the actors adapted well to the change. Randi and I were interested in finding a moment in the staging to incorporate the audience into the performance. I had decided re latively early on that I wanted to include the National Anthem near the end of the pl ay, and soon arrived at Igor Stravinksy's unconventional 1940 arrangement. It is unco mmonly beautiful, and strangely new considering the banal familiarity most peopl e have with the song. Randi and I realized that there was something potently confront ational, and perhaps even perverse, in requesting our audience, mid perf ormance, in the dark, and at an institution such as New College, to rise for the National Anthem. Whatever their feelings on the anthem and the flag, we expected the majority of our audien ce to rise; some would out of willingness to 61


engage in the performance process, a nd others, we hoped, would simply do so mechanically from years of traini ng; most, if not all, of the rest would rise so as not to be left out. During performance, the audience ro se and stood in the dark for the songs two minute duration. When the lights came up, the audience stood uneasily, and sat down in uneven succession. What was the audience experien ce here? At this moment, the audience became, in a way, another audience: the White House Press Corps, rising for the President's entrance. However insignificant th e event seems, the members of the audience occupy the privileged historical position to be there to see it. The audience does not know the rules, and is not prepared for the role that this other particular audience continues to have: the privileged access to information that is now always available. The play's audience, like the reporters and pundits, has th e chance to decide for itself what this information, effectively lost in the greater narrative, means. This device, more than any in the play, intrigues me for its possibilities with audiences in later productions. There is no recording of the final sp eech, the statement to the press on the following day. There is no record, in fact, of the President presenti ng it himself, although there is also no reason to believe he did not. In this scene, th e four actors all appeared in red ties, and thus all 'as' Richard Nixon. They stood before the podium previously used to display footnotes, and delivered the speech as if before its intended audience. The text was then split up between the four actors, who moved around one another to the podium in a sort of theatrical chess. Here, all of the actors perfor med their individual 'Nixon's side by side in a culmination of the creativ e work they had perfor med. Their orbit around the Nixonian idiom is made clear, the shar ed product of a process seen differently by 62


four actors. The relatively dry final words of the statement were offset by the forward stares of the four speakers, lending the line an eerie, poetic qu ality. There is no reflection, or thematic response to the preceding material just a retreat into darkness: a theatrical darkness and the darkness of history. I do not co nsider this ending necessarily or entirely anti-climactic, but troubled. For more than half of production, my play had no title. I have always been uncomfortable with the process of giving title s to works of dramatic and literary art. Many of the naming conventions seem to cheap en or muddle the piece itself, or fail to reflect all that the work cont ains. In giving this play a name, I sought something that would both reinforce and subvert the themes and message of the play. I found my title among my notes from much earlier historical research; during Waterg ate, writes Melvin Small, Attorney General John Mitchell admonish ed the committee to instead of listening to what we say, watch what we do ( 35). The paraphrase was unintentional when I drafted it as my title, and when I discovered this I did not feel correction was necessary. My variation had a better sound and shape, especially for an already long and obtuse title. Don't Listen to What We Say, Watch What We Do suggests an emphasis on the theatricality of the piece. It al so alludes ironically to the f act that its primary sources are the disembodied voices of now dead men, here manifested in the actors' bodies. No one can ever know what these men were actually 'doing.' It is fitting that actor Michael Anderson's peers told him that his makeup, costume, and gestures made him seem like a ghost. Both nights of performance were sati sfying and highly successful. The actors' performances were energetic, focused, and l oose, technical elemen ts blended well with 63


actor environment, and audiences were recepti ve to the material and its presentation. Most of the obvious jokes connected on the se cond night. In retrospe ct, I would not have included an intermission in a show so short. It may have helped to weaken audiences focus rather than refresh it. The interlude arrives at a point of high energy, and in itself provides enough of a reprieve before the time lines and tapes continue. Audiences understood my signing system of the ties a nd phone, and found the transitions striking and sometimes funny. Audiences were mixe d about the transitions' pacing. Some found its slowness tedious, while others found it me thodical and intriguing. I have considered that the character transitions needn't nece ssarily be so slow throughout the entire production, and could speed up and simplify after several attentive and deliberate demonstrations. In discussions with audiences after the pe rformance, two issues frequently arose. Some spectators, in fact, di d not believe that the dialogue was lifted directly from archived recordings. I attribute this incr edulity to a number of forces. Audiences, I believe, enter a conventional theatrical scen e with a frame accepting, if not expecting a fictive theatrical frame. Not only are we not us ed to thinking about real words, we aren't used to hearing them. Playwrights of the twen tieth century have grappled frequently with the difficulty of writing trul y naturalistic speech. Within the conventions of modern theater, despite realism's history and in fluence, many people largely accept the condensed, error-free language of the stage. Some modern playwrights have actively worked to incorporate the stuttering and devia tions inherent in real -life speech, to, I think, mixed results. Writing real-lif e dialogue is very difficu lt, and can risk sounding even more contrived than conventional dramatic language. In the case of our own audience, 64


even though I emphasized that the show re-p resented archived language, some people did not believe it. I think the language of the Nixon and his colleagues was altogether unexpected. As I have stated, I experienced a si milar 'shock of language' when I first encountered the tapes, as have countless lawy ers, judges, historians, and common citizens in their own experiences. This experience is now isolated, between the professionals who still interact with th e tapes, and the adults who lived through their revelation. Almost any viewing audience, especially my own, has li ttle or no knowledge of them. What's more, the situations were often outlandish, absurd, childish, and furthermore hard to believe. I don't know if this is a problem I can solve, or question I need to an swer. The problem of incredulity may work to the plays benefit. Additionally, many audience members admitted that they did not recognize that Don't Listen primarily follows the events of a single day. The layering of multiple records might have been confusing, and only twice in the script was the date of April 13th explicitly stated. As a result, some assumed the conversations came from several different days. This weakens the thematic effect of the piece. These bizarre, highly varied tape conversations are rendered more effective in th eir incongruity when th e time line is clear, when the audience knows that they happen ove r the course of a single day. The few scenes that do not take place on April 13th probably helped to confuse audiences. Actor Michael Anderson admitted to me that he did not recognize the chronological focus until his second reading. I stand, nonetheless, by my inclusion of these additional texts because I feel they create multiple basic formal cons tructions of the day's events, and provide a greater context for the tapes as an artifact. I will need, in later revi sions and stagings, to 65


emphasize within the text itself the play's specificity of time. I hope to make this clear without being more overt about it than necessary. One possible solution is for the speakers to make their own project clearer, and directly inform the audience of what they are going to do. After all of it, I am forced to ask myself, is there anything that is 'authentic' within the play, anything can be identified as truthf ul? I included the words from the tapes, word for word as I could dictate them, with re latively little editi ng. I reproduced the two alternate records of the day and did not atte mpt to 'explain' the characters' actions. My honesty still somehow seems wanting, and I am no longer sure that my refusal to draw a conclusion from my sources really aids the historicity of the project. Nonetheless, Don't Listen is my first finished original theatrical project, and I am proud of it. I was able, both on the page and in the staging, to employ a broad survey of the tools and devices of documentary theater to satisfying effect. I hope to produce this work again with different casts and different audiences in the future. 66


CONCLUSION THE NURTURE OF DOCUMENTARY THEATER Developing a full-length di scourse on documentary drama while developing and producing a documentary play has proved to be a complexly benefi cial mixture. In particular, examining the problems of the documentary mode, and its examples, revealed to me my own work's anxieties, and possibly its shortcomings. Since the play's production and its largely positive reception, I have grown increasingly uncomfortable about the works construction and arrangement In particular, I worry about the two primarily constructed scenesthe cabinet meeting and the morning chat between Nixon and Kissinger. I created them, and love them, for their formal difference, and consider them some of my best and most inventiv e writing. Audiences' inconclusive reactions were belied by their marked credulityeven believing the reality of scenes I hoped to frame as fictitious. If I am committed to some kind of 'docum entarian truth,' do I betray it in my subversion? Will a more skeptical and polit icized audience respond in revolt? I wonder now if any framing of these scenes will hold. I wrote the scenes and so arranged them with the assurance that they functioned w ithin the structure I established around them. Since they are the portions of the play I feel most to be mine, my anxiety is made more painful. A vital artistic question for the drama tist arrives out of this doubt: to whom is the documentary artist ultimately more responsible, the audience, or himself? If the works of Hare and Kaufman discussed above provide any advice, it may be that it does not matter. That the truth, however we see it, is still ultimately, inva riably beyond our control. We must take that which nourishes us, and may need to deal with that which confuses confounds, and eludes. 67


In her anthology documentary theater, Caro l Martin shies away from the term documentary, preferring the th eater of the real (1). Coupl ed with the extreme formal diversity of the scripts include d in her anthology, this phras ing strongly asserts that the document can be employed on stage beyond the formal grounds of the documentary drama. Beyond the leftist, social-critical root s of the documentary stage there is so much room for progress. And when audiences res pond to an assertion of documented truth on the stage with acceptance and affirmation, we perhaps shouldn't doubt the fairness of it. The theater of the real is a fi eld that will likely continue to grow more complex, diverse and relevant. I stated earlier that, as an artist, I fi nd one of documentary drama's most exciting implications is its the massive expansion of what can become theatrical text. It is my hope that my project provides some of its audience with the same understanding, and so the impetus to go out and make th eir own documentary theater. 68


APPENDIX DON'T LISTEN TO WHAT WE SAY, WATCH WHAT WHAT WE DO This play comprises an effort to examine so me of the problems in assembling any kind of product out of historical recor d, as well as an attempt to make just such a thing. CAST Four speakers narrate and carry out the acti on. No speaker is e xplicitly any of the characters they present. No one speaker main tains a role; at some point in work, any of the four speakers will have performed one of Nixon and his staff. The shifts in perspective are contextualizing, explanatory, or ironic. (SPEAKERS 1, 2, 3 are seated at a table. SPEAKER 3 writes, gestures, somewhat wearied. SPEAKER 4 sits alone, out of their space. He calls SPEAKER 3.) SCENE 1 DINNER SPEAKER 2: An exchange between President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, April 12, 1971, 7:23 PM. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Hello. SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: Mr. President? SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Have you finished your mee ting, or are you still having it? SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: I, uh, still have it; it will last another five or ten minutes. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah, yeah. Are you going out to dinner? SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: I have a differentuh, no, I was going to stay here. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah. Do you want to come over, and we'll give you something to eat here? SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: Oh, well, that's very nice. SPEAKER 4, AS NIXON: Why don't you come over to the Lincoln Room just as soon as you can finish. I'll tell him to serve it in about ten minutes. Can you be here in ten minutes? SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: Uh SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Or longer? SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: Could I make it 15? SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Fifteen minutes is fine. SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: Good. 69


SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: All right. SPEAKER 3 AS KISSINGER: I'll be over in 15 minutes. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Right. (SPEAKER 3 and SPEAKER 4 recede. Their scene is over. SPEAKER 1 addresses the audience without turning.) SPEAKER 2: 7:45-8:50 The President had dinner with Mr. Kissinger in the Lincoln sitting room 8:55 The President went to the third floor of the Residence (Beat. SPEAKER 1 AND SPEAKER 2 address audience.) SCENE 2 A HISTORY SPEAKER 1: Every president from Franklin Roosevelt had installed recording mechanisms into the White House offices. Some of these recorders were employed openly, most secretly. Roosevelt's was a micr ophone inside his desk lamp. He used it so as to not only be able to i rrefutably prove his own words, but to do the same to others. SPEAKER 2: There are about 40 hours of tape re maining, from mid 1940 to early 1941. (SPEAKER 3 and SPEAKER 4 return to the stage, take seats.) SPEAKER 1: Presidents Truman and Eisenhower used theirs very little, both somewhat uncomfortable with the use of such equipment. Each Presidency has under 20 hours of surviving records. John Kennedy's admini stration employed it to a greater degree, around 200 hours. Lyndon Johnson was decidedly more interested in keeping an intricate record of his activity, and recorded many of his phone conversations, collecting 800 hours by the end of 1968. SPEAKER 3: While arriving at the White House, Nixon was counseled by Johnson to keep the tape machine for fact-checki ng and historical purposes. Nixon was uncomfortable with the idea and had the machinery removed. SPEAKER 1: From Melvin Small's The Nixon Presidency : SPEAKER 3: Transition-team member Robert Fi nch reported that after a December visit during which a Johnson aide had demonstrated the president's taping system in the Cabinet Room, the Oval Office, and se veral other places Nixon ordered, 70


SPEAKER 4: Get rid of it. I don't want anything like it.' However, on February 16 1971, an advanced taping system was set up in the White House. Complex machines were installed in the Oval Office, the Ex ecutive Office Building, the Cabinet Room, and in the Presidential Office at Camp David. Additionally, phone calls c ould be recorded in many spaces throughout the White House. A taping system was reinstalled at the suggestion of his Chief of Staff, Robert Ha ldeman. Richard Nixon had a serious interest in documentation of his presidency. He wanted his to be the best-documented in history. He had always disliked having transcribers and note-takers while he worked, and a hands-free system would solve his problems. From February 16, 10:28 am, one of the very first recordings made in the oval office: (The scene Shifts, SPEAKERS 1, 2, and 3 move into the office space. SPEAKER 1, as Nixon, is seated.) SCENE 3 INSTALLING THE TAPES SPEAKER 2 AS BUTTERFIELD: You don't have any questions on this other business that you might want me to answer now? This voice, I explained to the president that the secretary cant SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: No. Mums the whole word. I will not be transcribed. SPEAKER 2 AS BUTTERFIELD: Correct. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: This is totally for, basically, to be put in the file, in my file. I don't want it in your file or Bob's or anybody else's. My file. SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: Right. SPEAKER 4: Deputy Assistant to the Presiden t Robert Haldeman, and aide to Robert Haldeman, Alexander Butterfield. These two, and the Secret Servicemen who maintained the machines, were th e only apart from Nixon who knew of the tape system's existence. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: ...The whole purpose, basically there may be a day when we have to have this for purposes of, maybe we want to put out something that's positive, maybe we need something just to be sure that we can correct the record. But...that's all. And also, though, because I won' t have to have people in the room when I see people SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: That's right. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Which is much better. I can have my personal conversations, which I want to have, and don't have the people there, you know, uh, which I'd much rather do anyway, unless I feel that I need them there to carry out something or as buffers. Then I'll have them, of course. So I think it'll work fine. It's a good system. SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: Just don't tell anybody you've got it and dont try to hide anything...any time that anything gets used from it, it's on the basis of your notes 71


or the president's notes SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: That's right. SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: Or my notes or SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Hmm. For example, you've got nothing to use from this today. Just forget it. File it. Everything today will be filed. SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: Yes. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Fair enough? SPEAKER 2 AS BUTTERFIELD: I think it's gonna be a very fine system. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: And I think, incidentally, on those, uh, I don't know, these open office hours, shall we just, let's just us e that and forget the note taker business. SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: Well SPEAKER 2 AS BUTTERFIELD: Someone should cover it. (all three cough, mutter. Awkward silence) SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: I'd still use that. We've got SPEAKER 2 AS BUTTERFIELD: We aren't getting SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: Look at this from McCracken. Look at this stuff and, and we're getting SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Well SPEAKER 3 AS HALDEMAN: To take these things and look at what, what comes out of them. This SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Okay. Good. I'm for it. (SPEAKERS 1, 2, and 3 retreat.) SPEAKER 4: By July 1973 there were over 4,000 hours of tapes. (beat) The following scenes are taken directly from the roughly 10 hours of recordings from April 13, 1971. Between several available resour ces, the record is varied, inco mplete, and contradictory. Robert Haldeman's diary entry for Tuesday, the 13th: (SPEAKER 1 and SPEAKER 2 carry out some of the gestures of the monologue, while SPEAKER 4 leaves SPEAKER 3's side and acts as him, or others in the scene.) SCENE 4 HALDEMAN'S DIARY, PT. 1 SPEAKER 3: A reasonably busy day for the P. After a general general discussion of 72


odds and ends this morning, he got Henry in and, in comparing his problems to those of previous P's, mentioned that he had Henry up to the Lincoln Room for dinner last night and that had gotten him to thinking, as they were talking there, about the problems that other P's had, and certainly some of them had been great. SPEAKER 2 AS NIXON: Industrialization, expansion, immigration, integration, unionization. the Great War, the Great Depr ession, the Second World War, the Civil Rights Movement, draft riots, race riots, prison reform, welfare reform, pollution, Cold War SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Marshall Plan, Multilateral Force, SPEAKER 2 AS NIXON: Korea, Cuba. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Spanish Flu. The League of Nations. The United Nations. SPEAKER 2 AS NIXON: Assassination. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Assassination SPEAKER 2 AS NIXON: Assassination SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Assassination SPEAKER 3: Ours were probably more substantial than any except Lincoln, whose problems overshadowed everyone's by a wide margin. [The P.] commented on the point that Lincoln had the cannons in the streets in New York to shoot draft resisters; that he had a rebellious Cabinet; Stanton wouldn't speak to him; his wife's insanity and her two brothers killed in the southern side of the war, etc. All of those, added up, make our situation look pretty simple. SPEAKER 2: No clear record of this conversation exists. SPEAKER 3: He then got into a discussion of Chin a policy, arising partly out of Scali's recommendation that we do something to r ecognize the United States Ping-Pong team when it comes back from its tour in Ch ina. The United States Ping-Pong team had traveled to China to compete with a repr esentative Chinese team. This made them international icons, the first Westerners to enter the PRC in decades. Around 10:16 am: SCENE 5 PETERSON AND PING PONG SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: What worries me, Mr. President, you may not give me the credit, announce the tomorrow, the lifting of some restrictions. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: and this looks SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON : That's already gotten out, y eah...Cronkite said it, Cronkite said it last night. Now, how did he get it? Now I know, I know Mr. Cronkite, I saw him him on the news last night. No he just simply said, The President will announce 73


tomorrow.... SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: Yes... SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: And you know it didn't come from us. SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: Of course. Now... (long pause) ...yeah, it doesn't make any difference who we get to hit on that. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: And this is a direct result from the tour, Nixon is prepared to relax restrictions on certain non-strategic goods as a result of the tour... It doesn't really make any difference what they say, the point is that we do it. SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: Yes. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Alright. SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: Well, I don't think that we, that we, well, the big problem is not to play for short term publicity on this. Because if we make it too blatant the Chinese will have to pull back. And the Russians will then really get sore. It's sticking it to them very cold. If we get a summit, if we get something that's a permanent achievement, then we can play a treatise out of them. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: (quickly) This is the point and this was for you to talk to Scali, and give him some of the background imp lications, explain to him that this is what I'm having him say on the China timeline, see if its alright. He talks very well. The President took the initi ative after discussion some 13 months ago, he came and asked you apparently. When he says the securing of tr avel restriction, these are very likely to be State reactions made on the grounds that it w ould make the Soviets a ngry when its for the express purpose not to make the Soviets mad. And remembering an isolated, alienated, and yet nuclearized China presents the worl d a very real diplomatic threat. Yes. Supertext: John Scali, senior consultant on foreign affairs. SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: The only point I'd make is 20 months ago. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: It's not 13 months ago SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: What? SPEAKER 2 AS KISSINGER: It began 20 months ago. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Hmmm, well, Mr. Peterson told me it was 13 months ago. (picks up phone) Mr. Peterson, Please. (Puts down phone, waits, picks it up again.) Yeah. Yeah. Hello? Supertext: Peter Peterson, interna tional economic affairs adviser. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Yes, Mr. President. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: I read the memorandum. It's fine except that therather than 13 months ago, it was 20 months ago that we started this initiative with regard to the Chinese. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON Was it? 74


SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Somebody indicated to me March of 1970. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: March of there could have been an announcement, but init was 20 months ago that we started the private SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: I see, the discussions started 20 months ago. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: That's right. See, I talked to the Indian ambassador and Mrs. Gandhi, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, you know. It's aon my world trip at that time. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: All right. Fine. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: But you could say 20 months ago, then we made an announcement 13 months ago SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: All right. Fine. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: All of that is correct. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Fine. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: The main thing is, however, if I could just getbe sure we get the tone. The Chinese thing is going just the way we want it. We do not want to have...I don't want you to appear, or I don't want us to appear that, to be exploiting it. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Mm-hmm. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: You see what I mean? SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Sure. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: And, and so you can simply say, Now look here,you can, when you tell them this, you tell them this is for your background only. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Mm-hmm. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Be very tough with them. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Mm-hmm. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: ( with Peterson assenting throughout) This is not for use. And say, However, you should know that this is the way it began. This is the way we feel. But I don't want them to have a story next w eek saying this is all a plot by which thea plan by which the President, you know, starte d this many months a godid this and that and the other thing and now it all comes to fruition, because then, that may overplay to the Chinese, will be a little bit too anxious to them, and they might, might knock that one out. And second, it will, it may hurt what we'r e trying to do with the Soviet right now, you see. What really is going to count with th e Soviet, Pete, is the fact. I mean that Ping Pong team is worrying them right up the wall. Let the fact workI'm just giving you this as a little kind of that, kind of backroom stuff that an edito rial board loves to hear. See what I mean? SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Right. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: You can say, Now, this information, now--you can say, I would urge that you watch this in th e future, and that sort of thing. 75


SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Right. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: See what I mean? But your whole general thrust is right on target. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: All right. And you don't mind if they talk about the initiative, I take it, and SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: No, no, no. Oh, you can say that the President took this initiative. [ with Peterson assenting ] I think that is public knowle dge. I took th e initiative. And that it was my decision, and that it was notit was one in whic h there was, I think you can honestly say, that there was some, there was opposition in the Foreign Service, some of the Kremlinologists, because of their concern about the Russians. I think SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Now, is that for background, too? The, uhh? SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Oh, that can be something they can use. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: All right. Fine. SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Just a minute. Let me just see. Let me check to see if .(checks with KISSINGER, who is already holding a document in front of him) ...the difficulty with thatI would tell them that on a complete deep background, which means they can't use it, for this reas on: it'll look like we're just trying to pick a fight with State. Right now, we're trying to keep State....I th ink you can simply tell them thatwhy don't you put it in a more fuzzed-up way? Say ther e was argument. Tell them that everybody's on salvo right now, but at that time, when I initiated this, there was argument because some of the Kremlinologists in the Foreign Se rvice were deeply concerned about the fact, is going to have some problem s in our Soviet relations. And that then you go on to say, Look, this ha s nothing to do with it. The President has alwaysthis has nothing to do with trying to make the Soviet mad or the Chinese mad. The purpose is to get along with both. We want to be--the line th at I took in Yugoslavia and Romania: that you can be our friend wit hout being anybody else's enemy. That's the line. SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: Now, the part that you want strictly on background is the precise dates of all this. Is that, do I have you right on that? SPEAKER 1 AS NIXON: Precise dates don't worry me. The 13 months ago and 20 months ago, no, those are SPEAKER 4 AS PETERSON: All right. (everyone continues on their way) SCENE 6 HALDEMAN'S DIARY, PT. 2 SPEAKER 3: The thought here is that we're making some progress, but we can't start claiming any success or doing any public events such as that because it will get in the 76


way of future progress. E and I... Supertext: John Ehrlichman, legal counsel to the President for Domestic Affairs SPEAKER 3: ...had a brief meeting with him on the Hoover question. John Mitchell had called E to say that Hoover has sent a me mo around to the top members of the Bureau, telling them not to rout their domestic inte lligence information to Assistant Attorney General Robert Mardrian, which is directly contrary to our orders, and also implying that, at the direct order of the P. Hoover has been doing some wiretapping and other high level surveillance. Neither of thes e is true, and John wanted to check them out with the P for the Attorney General so he'll know how to approach the situation. He had a fairly long meeting with Connally and called me right afterward, started to report it on the phone and then asked me to come over to the office. Supertext: John Connally, Secretary of the Treasury He obviously was very pleased with the talk. Connally feels the problem is that our people don't hit anybody, and that we've got to do that. He also made the point again of the failure to show personal concern, no warm th, no human qualities, and that this has to come from the little things, because you can't do it in the big appearances... ...from the Address to the Nation on the Situation in Southeast Asia, April 7th 1971. SPEAKER 2 AS NIXON: Tonight I do not ask you to ta ke what I say on faith. Look again at this chart on my left. Every acti on taken by this Administ ration, every decision made, has accomplished what I said it would accomplish. They have reduced American involvement. They have drastically reduced our casualties. In my campaign for the Presidency, I ple dged to end American involvement in the war. I am keeping that pledge. And I expe ct to be held accountable to the American people if I fail. SPEAKER 3: The real question posed is whether we change the P's own approach to the press conferences and interviews and so forth, or to try to add emotion and warmth to them. He does feel that he can try to get some more schmaltz into the speeches, make them warm instead of brittle, make the anec dotes warm and find a way to work them in. SPEAKER 2 AS NIXON: ...After I presented the Medal, I shook hands with their two children, Karl Jr.he was 8 years oldand Kevin, who was 4. As I was about to move on to the next recipient, Kevin suddenly stood at attention and salu ted. I found it rather difficult to get my thoughts togeth er for the next presentation. SPEAKER 3: They discussed Agnew, and Connally feels that he can survive if he stays on his present course and doesn't go overboard. The P doesn't agree. He's told me to have a private talk with Conally regarding the vice Presidency, and start getting him built 77


up and ready for it. He agreed with the id ea of moving Stans to Finance Chairman and putting a strong spokesman into the Commerce slot. SPEAKER 4: Vice President Spiro Agnew wa s under investigation in the state of Maryland, where he had been Governer, over charges of extortion, tax fraud, and bribery. He would not officially resign until October 1973. (end of scene) SCENE 7 ITINERARY AND CABINET MEETING SPEAKER 4: The White house keeps a Diary of almo st everything that happens, minute by minute, to the President. Mu ch of it matches Haldeman's account. SPEAKER 2: PRESIDENT RICHARD NI XON'S DAILY DIARY PLACE DAY BEGAN: THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON, D. C. 7:45 The president had breakfast 8:00 The president went to his Oval Office 8:02 The president was telephoned by his assist ant, Henry A. Kissinger. The call was not completed. 8:04 The president attended a Cabi net Meeting in the Cabinet Room (speakers 1, 2, 3 arrange themselves in seating. SPEAKER 3 reads a list of excerpts from the discussion, while SPEAKER 4 reads a list, below, of all attendees, interspersed throughout.) SPEAKER 3: Some contents of the cabinet meeting. SPEAKER 2: Haldeman's 'odds and ends.' SPEAKER 3: Nuclear power SPEAKER 1: A problem is, there is a part of a great number of people in the country, that fear the use of Nuclear power. Now I talked to Hollifield, and he stressed to me...the need for 78


a pollution-free energy source. The consumption and production of... SPEAKER 2: Uranium, plutonium. SPEAKER 1: yeah. SPEAKER 3: I think that we need a second source of energy in this country. And I think that a breeder reactor is our only chance to do it. I think it's absolutely necessary. I think that we are the largest and gr eatest industrial nation in the world, don't want to lose that, shall we? Can't forsake that objective. And if we don't have a second source, er, supply, of energy, we're gonna lose that place. SPEAKER 2: Costs, environmental impact, safety, problems SPEAKER 1: Breeder reactors, Demonstration reactors, public gestures. SPEAKER 3: The Energy Crisis, The Reduction of Voltage, The Need for Innovation, Effects on Industry. The Pace of Fusion Development SPEAKER 2: And we could have an inexhaustible source of energy, in my opinion, for a thousand years. I'm deeply convinced that this can be done, I'm deeply convinced that the urge will take. I think its something the people can understandfar, far more than a lot of things. SPEAKER 1: It would take about six years for one of these plants to become operational, because they are very large hardware SPEAKER 2: What about the British, the French, the Russians? How did they get so far? SPEAKER 1: Well, they were looking one way, we were looking another. They committed themselves to the, uh, demonstration plants before we did. SPEAKER 2: We had a tremendous study made in nineteen-hundred-sixty-one. I remember the time, it was written by Presid ent Kennedy, it was on Saint Patrick's Day, and the reason I remember is because its my birthday. (everyone laughs) SPEAKER 3: Cost competitive to fossil fuels, Prospects in desalinization in Southern California SPEAKER 1: By the year 2000, we're going to need 7 times more power than we do today. Where are you going to get it? SPEAKER 2: The little bit of radioactivity that gets out through...effluents, from the plants operation into the, uh, cooling water, and that's the part that I think is really small, and as scientists begin to think more and more about this. There have been a few who have raised a specter of, uh, real problems, but as you analyze these, its uh, its uh, it comes down to what I said about one part in another thousands of background radiation, and it'll be about 7 times that in the year 2000but that's ridiculously small. SPEAKER 1: As far as the committee is concerned you drew all these arguments SPEAKER 2: We drew all these arguments.... SPEAKER 4: (spoken softly, behind the the above cabinet meeting, as a drone of information behind.) 79


CABINET MEETING TO BE IN ATTENDANCE At Cabinet Table The President The Vice President Under Secretary john Erwin (for S ecretary rogers in Costa Rica) Under Secretary Paul Volcker (for Secretary Connally in Texas) Secretary Laird Deputy Attourney General Kleindienst (for A ttorney General John M itchell in Florida) PMG Blount Assistant Secretary Dole (for Secretary Morton in Bahamas) Secretary Hardin Secretary Stans Secretary Hodgson Under Secretary Veneman (forSecretary Richardson in Madrid) Secretary Romney Secretary Volpe Ambassador Kennedy Director Schultz Counsellor Finch Counsellor Rumsfeld Ambassador Bush Staff Mr. Ehrlichman Mr. MacGregor Mr. Haldeman Mr. Klein Mr. Ziegler Mr. Price Mr. David Mr. Flanigan Mr. Whitaker Mr. Kriegsman Mr. Sohmer Mr. R. Brown Other Dr. McCracken (CEA) General Lincoln (OEP) Mr. Freeman (OST) Mr. Shaw (AEC) Mr. Weinberger (OMB) 80


Chairman Chet Holifield Vice Chairman John Pastore Senator Baker (for Senator Aiken in Vermont) Congressman Anderson (Congressman Ho smer in Southern California) (All above attendees will be sitting at table) SPEAKER 1: 9:07 The President returned to his Oval Office. The President met with: 9:30-10:25 Robert. Haldeman, Assistant 9:59-10:39 Mr. Kissinger 10:32-10:37 Ronald L. Zieg ler, Press Secretary. 9:36-9:40The President talked with General George A. Lincoln, Di rector, Office of Emergency Preparedness. 10:16-10:21The President talked with his Assistant, Peter G. Peterson. The President met with: 10:38-11:07Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Special Envoy to the Vatican. 10:42-11:07 Mr. Kissinger. 11:08-11:13 The President met with Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, Paul McCracken. 11:14 The President talked with hi s Special Counsel, Charles Colson. SCENE 8 NIXON AND COLS ON TALK ABOUT POWs SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. Hello. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Yes, sir, Mr. President. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: I'm meeting with, uh, Scali a nd Kissinger in, uh, a couple of minutes. You want to come down? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Uh SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Are you free, or what are you doing? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Fine, I'll come right over. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Wait a minute. Where are you now? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: I'm in my office, just, uh... SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Meeting with somebody? 81


SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: No, sir. Just cleaning up some paperwork. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Fine. Fine. Fine. OK. Or do you wantthink we should just want me to see them alone? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Well, I suggest that Kissinge r come in. I don't think it matters one way...or another whether I'm th ere, but I think it's important that, uh SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Well, Kissinger, I'm gonna, I'm go nna lay right into it, I only thought that, uh...well, maybe not. Maybe, maybe you might pass at this time. You've had long talks with him before. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Oh, I've been working with John. I had John in here SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: He's in good shape. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: almost all day yesterday, sort of getting him adjusted to the system and SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Sure. Sure. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: I will be working closely with him. I felt, on this meeting, Mr. President, and I expressed myself this morning, that the great value that, ehwould be for you to get these two fellows sort of tracking together, because SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: there'll be a normal tendency for a little rivalry, there. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: I know. I know...I'll talk to them alone. I'll talk to them alone. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: I think there's value in that. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. I'll do that. Fine. Fine. Anything else from your shop? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: I, ah, might just report to you, Mr. President, that Harris did start the polling when he said he would. He started last Thursday. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Still polling, huh? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: His people are through in the field tonight and their data starts flowing back in. We'll have a fe el on the Harris figures this weekend. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: But you gave him ours, did you? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Gave him yours. I gave him the ORC figures. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Good. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Which he, which he said he fe lt werehe said he felt the trend would be uh, up. He wasn't surprised by the ORC figures. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: That's good. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: And we'll see how he comes out. He's SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: But you told him yeah. So he knows we're watching. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: (laughs) Oh, yes. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Well, after all our ORC thing's published, too. 82


SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: That's right. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: So it keeps him a little bit honest. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: He had seen that and then we discussed it in detail. He told me that he would call me over the weekend wi th his raw data and review it with me and that SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Right. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: and then what he will do is put that in the mail next Tuesday for, uh SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. (pause) SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: the following Monday's news stories. So we get thethe story on that one would come out two weeks from yesterday. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. Sure. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: And I think it'll be good. If it is n't an up-tick, I think I can talk him out of publishing it. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: ( Laughs) Okay. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: So, we'll stay on that. I also might report to you, because you asked me about it SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: We've got the POW wives coming in. And, uh SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Good. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Don Hughes has been doing a good job with these gals. Supertext: Lt. Gen. James D. Don H ughes was military assistant to the president SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: I know. I know. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: They did have a meeting with Kissinger and it didn't come off quite as well as they w ould have liked, so we're gonna SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Oh, it didn't? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Well, theyI think they got the feeling that he wasn't Don can really relate to them, and uh SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. Then maybe you don't wantwell, uh, on the other hand, uh... SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: No, I think what II think the SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: You, you better, eh SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: I think it should be done, but H ughesI'm arranging to have Hughes and Kissinger sort of do it together, and SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. 83


SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: And Don is good at the ha nd-holding and Henry can SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. He was too blunt with them, then? SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: A lil' bit. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Mm-hmm. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: But, uh I'll see that that comes about this week. SPEAKER 3 AS NIXON: Yeah. Fine. Good, good. SPEAKER 2 AS COLSON: Thank you, Mr (He is hung up on.) --INTERLUDE Supertext: WILLIAM BURROUGHS, 1975 SPEAKER 4 AS INTERVIEWER: When did you stop wanting to be President? SPEAKER 3 AS BURROUGHS: When did I stop wanting to be President? At birth, certainly, nad perhaps before. In this life or a ny previous incarnations I have been able to check out, I never wanted to be President. This innate decision was confirmed when I became literate and saw the President pawing babies and spouting bullshit. I attended Los Alamos Ranch School, where they later made the atom bomb, and bombs bursting in air over Hiroshima gave proof through the night that our flag was already there. Then came the Teapot Dome scandal under President Harding, and I remember the unspeakable Gaston Means, infamous private eye and go-be tween in that miasma of graft, walking into a hotel room full of bourbon-drinking, cigar-smoking lobbyists and fixers, with a laundry hamper he puts in the middle of the floor. SPEAKER 1: Fill it up boys, and we talk business. SPEAKER 3 AS BURROUGHS: I do not mean to imply that my youthful idealism was repelled by this spectacle. I had by then lear ned to take a broad general view of things. My political ambitions were simply of a humb ler and less conspicuous caliber. I hoped at one time to become commissioner of sewers for St. Louis County dollars a month, with the possibility of getting ones shitty pa ws deep into a slush fundand to this end I attended a softball game where such sinecu res were assigned to the deserving and the fortunate. Everybody I met said, SPEAKER 2: Now Im old So-and-so, running for such and such, and anything you do for me Ill appreciate. 84


SPEAKER 3 AS BURROUGHS: My boyish dreams fanned by this heady atmosphere and three mint juleps, I saw myself alrea dy in possession of the coveted post, which called for a token appearance twice a week to sign a few letters at the Old Court House; while Im there might as well put it on the sheriff for some marijuana he has confiscated, and hed better play ball or I will route a sewer through his front yard. And then across the street to the Court House Caf for a coffee with some other lazy worthless bastards in the same line of business, and we wallow in corruption like contented alligators. I never wanted to be a front man lik e Harding or Nixontaking the rap, shaking hands, and making speeches all day. Who in his right mind would want a job like that? As commissioner of sewers I w ould not be called upon to pet babies, make speeches, shake hands, have lunch with the queen; in fact, the fewer voters who knew of my existence, the better. Let kings and Presiden ts keep the limelight. I prefer a whiff of coal gas as the sewers rupture for miles aroundI have made a deal on the piping which has bought me a $30,000 home, and there is talk in the press of se x cults and orgies carried out in the stink of what made them possible. Fluttering from the roof of my ranch-style house, over my mint and marijuana, Old Glory floa ts lazily in the tainted breeze. But there were sullen mutters of revolt from the peasantry: My teenage daughters are cunt-deep in shit! Is this the American way of life? I thought so, and I didnt want it changed, sitting there in my garden, smoking th e sheriffs reefers, coal gas on the wind sweet in my nostrils as the smell of oil to an oil man or the smell of bullshit to a cattle baron. I sure did a sweet thi ng with those pipes, and Im covered, too. What I got on the Governor wouldnt look good on the front page would it, now? And I have my special police to deal with vandalism and sabotage, all of them handsome youths, languid and vicious as reptiles, describe d in the press as no more than minions, lackeys, and bodyguards to His Majesty the Sultan of Sewers. The thoughts of youth are long, long t houghts. Then I met the gubernatorial candidate, and he looked at me as if tryi ng to focus my image through a telescope and said, in effect, SPEAKER 2: Anything I do for you Ill depreciate. SPEAKER 3: And I felt the dream slipping away fr om me, receding into the past, dim, jerky, far awaythe discrete gold letters on a glass door: William S. Burroughs, Commissioner of Sanitation. Somehow I had not intersected. I was not one of them. Perhaps I was simply the wrong shape. So me of my classmates, plump, cynical, unathletic boys with narrow shoulders and broad hips, made the grade and went on to banner headlines concerning 200,000 dollars of the taxpayers money and a nonexistent bridge or highway, I forget which. It was a l ong time ago. I have never aspired to political office since. The Sultan of Sewers lies buried in a distant 1930s softball game. What would you do if you were in the Presidents place? You would be inexorably pressured by the forces and the individuals that made you President, and by your own desire to be President in th e first place; so you would wind up doing just what they all have done. Its enough to stop any sane man from wanting to be President. END OF INTERLUDE 85


---SCENE 9 ITINERARY AND YAZ SPEAKER 2: The President met with: 11:16-11:30 Mr. Haldeman 11:19-11:46 John A. Scali, Special Consultant 11:19-12:16 Mr. Kissinger. The President met with: 12:18-12:33 Carl Yastrzemski, Bo ston Red Sox baseball player, Yastrzemski was voted Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Association in 1967. He visited Nixon to offer him his MVP tr ophy. Their press conference is mostly inaudible. After the photo session: SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: How many, uh, children do you have? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: Four. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: You have four? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: I have a girl and boy, and on a second round I had two girls born too. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: (hesitant, playing it cool) Two boys, two girls. SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: Uh, three girls and a boy. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Three girls and a boy. Right right. Now do you, what do you do, maintain a residence in Boston? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: In Boston, yes. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Of course you do, home team. Now when you travel around, do you ever, do players ever take their, you don't take your wives with you, do you? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: Once in a while. But they have to go on a separate flight. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Oh yeah. It's tough, you know? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: It's tough, you know. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: And, uh, now when they're in the park, does your wife come see ya? Does she like the game? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: Yeah. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: I imagine the older ones like to come. SPEAKER 1: There is a six minute gap. Materials identified as Personal are deleted throughout. They discuss Yastrzemski's 86


involvement in an anti-drug program in Boston. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Now, are most of the drugs, uh, marijuana? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: Uh, marijuana's where they're at. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Speed? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: Speed, not too much. That's what we try to do is to just educate SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Heroin, 'course it's so costly. They do it and there done. SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: They're done, they're done. Bu t Marijuana...the majority of them've tried it. I'd have to say 70 percent of kids in high school have tried it. The big thing is just to stop 'em from going on to SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: To stop 'em from going on to trying the amphetamines, yeah. SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: That's right. We had a kid, I was talking in one high school, and the kid just pops some LSD, or some shit li ke that. Bang. Just suddenly made a weird sound. Boom. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: LSD. Yeah. SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: But I don't think they mess with LSD anymore. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Now...LSD is what scares me. All those kids they commit suicide. They jump out of windows. They do the damndest things. Yeah. SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: But that SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Well I, what kind of year you gonna have this year? You lookin', you feel good? SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: I feel very good. I'd like to say this cold weather is something else. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Mhmm. Now this was one of the coldest winters. You like the warm weather. SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: Warm weather.... SPEAKER 1: The meeting ended with gifts. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Now I want to give you a few little things, for You'd like...presidential...cuffli nks, it's my pleasure, right here, you can open it yourself, and here's presidential golf balls. And now for the kids. Alright, for the girls, and the wife: accept these pins with the presidential seal of approval. They can wear that, it's kinda nice. Oh, and here's this scarf. And then the boy, let's see what we can give the boy. There's the presidential key. Look at this patch. SPEAKER 3 AS YAZ: He can put it on his vest. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Good. I'll give one to you too. (The scene carries on.) 87


SCENE 10 FINAL ITINERARY SPEAKER 3: The President met with: 2:49-3:06 Mr. Haldeman 2:49-3:38 John D. Ehrlichman, Assistant 3:04-3:38 George P. Shultz, Director, OMB. The President met with: 3:39-4:25 Mr. Haldeman 3:39-4:40 Peter Flanigan, Assistant 4:05-4:15 Lawrence Higby, Staff Assistant 4:20-4:24 Mr. Kissinger 4:25-6:00 John B. Connally, Secretary of the Treasury. 3:53-3:54 The President talked with Mr. Shultz. 4:40-4:47 The President talked with General Lincoln. 6:00-6:01 The President talked with the First Lady. 6:04-6:45 The President met with Mr. Haldeman. 6:45 The President went to the Residence. 6:50 The President had dinner with : The First Lady Patricia Nixon. 6:55 The President was telephoned by Mr. Kissinger. The call was not completed. At 7:46: SCENE 11 NIXON AND KISSINGER EVENING CHAT [SPEAKER 1, as KISSINGER, sits separate. He speaks silently into his phone, and is routed. SPEAKER 4, as NIXON, in the Lincoln Sitting Room. Classical piano music plays loudly in the background. He picks up his phone.] SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Hello? Yeah. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Hello? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Mr. President? SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah, Henry. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: I just wanted to mention a number of relatively minor things to you. 88


SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: One is that the South Viet namese are launching another one of these raid-type operations tonight. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Good. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: This time, it's a more sizeable one. There's a big sweep inside South Vietnam. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Good. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And then they're going to land some battalions in Base Area 611. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Mm-hmm. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And I think it's very useful to tie down the North Vietnamese. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Good. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Is it well-programmed, well-supported, and well-planned? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Programmed and well-supported, Mr. President. And I've called Moorer to say that we don't want any significant American losses in helicopters, and so forth. Supertext: Admiral Thomas Moorer was chai rman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Right. Right. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Secondly, I talked today to this fellow, Vorontsov, from the Soviet embassy. Supertext: Yuli M. Vorontsov was minister of Soviet embassy. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Right. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: The reason was that there's a meeting between Rush and Abrasimov. Supertext: David Kenneth Rush was U.S. ambassador to West Germany. Pyotr Abrasimov was Soviet ambassador to East Germany. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yes. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: On Berlin, and I just wanted to make sure that they didn't blowthat they understood which way the channels were going. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yes. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: He understood that? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Oh, yeah. He understood it a nd he said that Dobrynin 89


was coming back Sunday with new instructi ons and that we shoul d take the Brezhnev speech very seriously. And he was slobbering all over me. Supertext: Anatoliy F. Dobrynin was Soviet ambassador to the United States. Leonid I. Brezhnev was secr etary general of Soviet Communist Party. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Good. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: We'll see Sunday what he tells you. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And then I did something which was a little unorthodox. I told him that Dobrynin had given me his phone number in Moscow. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Mm-hmm. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: So he called me upand I'd lost it. So he called me an hour later and said it might be a nice thing if I called Dobrynin and congratulated him on his Central Committee membership. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Good. Do it. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: So Iin fact, I did it. And Dobrynin said we'll have something on that exchange of letters when I come back. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: He said that? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Yeah. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: But he didn't say what it was. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 4 AS KISSINGER: And he also said he was coming with new instructions. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: But not indicating anything on the summit thing? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Well, he couldn't, Mr. President, on an open telephone. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Oh, it was open telephone. OK. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Yeah. We don't have a secure line. We have the hot line, but I didn't want to use that. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Right. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: This was a commercial phone. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Good. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: But he probablyhow'd he sound? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Oh, he sounded they're going to do something, Mr. President. And then finally, one other thi ng, I called Mike Mansfield on your behalf. ( the music becomes too loud for Kissinger to be heard.) 90


Supertext: Michael J. Mansfield was a Democratic senator from Montana. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Just a second. Hold on. (Long pause. The volume of the music drops.) Go ahead. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: I called Mike Mansfield. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And told him that you had asked me to tell him about what you were announcing tomorrow in strictest confidence. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Right. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And I thought that he would have appreciated it. And he was allhe was beside himself. Very statesmanlike and SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Was he? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: The President has his warm support and congratulations and and he said now he sees what you were talking about in yourwhen you were hinting at China policy and SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Mm-hmm. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Of course, he raised again his going there. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah, we have it in mind. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And I thought, Mr. President, that tomorrow morning, if you agree, that perhaps MacGregor might call Ford and Albert. That gives MacGregor a little status and gives h im something dovish to do. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah. Supertext: Clark MacGregor was congressional liaison. Gerald R. Ford was House minority leader. Carl B. Albert was Speaker of the House. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: And let State notify the Foreign Relations Committee. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Well, let MacGregor also call Mahon. Supertext: George H. Mahon was a Democr atic representative from Texas. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Yeah. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Mahon is a good man. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: That's a good thing. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: And let him hitbecause he's the best man on that side. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Right. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: And let's see, on our side, Scott. Supertext: Hugh Scott, senate minority leader. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Scott he should call. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah. He might as well. 91


SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Maybe Griffin. Supertext: Robert P. Griffin, senate minority whip. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Yeah. Scott and Griffin. Yeah. And, let's see, anybody else that I think that's enough. Let State in form the others. Well, MacGregor might call Aiken. Supertext: Senator George D. Aiken of Vermont. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Thathe's on the Foreign Relations Committee. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Oh, that's all right. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: He'll probably.... SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: That's right. Let him call Aiken and let State handle the others. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: OK. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: See? SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Right. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Give Aiken a little... SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Right. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: A little brush. That's a good idea. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Good, Mr. President. I'll get that done. (shifts) SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Fine. OK, Henry. SPEAKER 1 AS KISSINGER: Right. SPEAKER 4 AS NIXON: Thank you. (They hang up. SPEAKER 4, as Nixon, rises and continues the last few sections of the itinerary) SPEAKER 1: 8:09 The President took a walk on the South Lawn. 8:10 The President went to his Oval Office. 8:39 The President went bowling in the EOB. The President bowled his record high game of 229. 9:30 The President returned to the Residence. 11:24 The President was telephoned by Mr. Kissinger. The call was not completed. (Fade to black. Darkness.) 92


SPEAKER 3 : Will the audience please rise for the National Anthem. (National Anthem plays) SCENE 12 STATEMENT TO THE PRESS, CLOSING SPEAKER 3 : Statement to the Press. April 14th, 1971. 7:00 pm (SPEAKER 2 begins press statement, SPEAKERS 3, 4, and 2 join in, sharing the text, and dropping out a fter their last text) SPEAKER 2: In my second annual Foreign Policy Report to Congress on February 25, 1971, I wrote, In the coming year I will carefully examine what further steps we might take to create broader opportunities for contacts between American and Chinese peoples, and how we might remove needless obstacles to the realization of these opportunities. I asked the Under Secretaries Committee of the Nationa l Security Council to make appropriate recommendations to bring this about. After reviewing the resulting study and recommendations, I decided on the followi ng actions, none of which requires new legislation or negotiation with the People's Republic of China: SPEAKER 3: The United States is prepared to expedite visas for visitors or groups of visitors from the People's Republic of China to the United States. SPEAKER 4: US currency controls are to be relaxe d to permit the use of dollars by the People's Republic of China. SPEAKER 2: Restrictions are to be ended on Amer ican oil companies providing fuel to ships or aircraft to and from China except on Chinese-owned or Chinese-Chartered carriers bound to or from North Vi etnam, North Korea, or Cuba. SPEAKER 1: US vessels or aircraft may no w carry Chinese cargoes between nonChinese ports and US-owned flag carriers may call at Chinese ports. SPEAKER 2: I have asked for a list of items of a nonstrategic natu re which can be placed under general license for direct expor t to the People's Republic of China. Following my review and approval of specifi c items on this list, direct imports of designated items from China will then also be authorized. SPEAKER 3: After due consideration of the results of these changes in our trade and travel restrictions, I will consider what additional steps might be taken. SPEAKER 4: Implementing regulations will be a nnounced by the Department of State and other interested Agencies. (Fade to Black) END 93


Works Cited Anderson, Michael. Personal interview. 25 Feb. 2011. Dawson, Gary Fisher. Documentary Theatre in the United States: An Historical Survey and Analysis of Its Content, Form, and Stagecraft Contributions in drama and theatre studies, no. 89. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1999. Print. Forsyth, Alison, and Christopher Megson. Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print. Fuchs, Elinor. The Death of Character: Perspectives on Theater after Modernism. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1996. Print. Hare, David. Stuff Happens London: Faber and Faber, 2006. Print. Kaufman, Moises. Gross Indecency: the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. New York: Vintage Books, 1998. Print. Martin, Carol. The Dramaturgy of the Real on the World Stage Gordonsville: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009. Print. The Nixon Tapes. Nixon Tapes and Transcripts Web. . Paget, Derek. True Stories?: Documentary Drama on Radio, Screen, and Stage Cultural politics. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1990. Print. Smith, Anna Deavere. Fires in the Mirror. Harcourt Brace Anthology of Drama. Ed. W. B. Woerden. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College, 2000. 1116-146. Print. Smith, Anna Deavere. House Arrest: A Search for American Character in and Around the White House, Past and Pres ent ; and Piano: Two Plays New York: Anchor 94

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Books, 2004. Print. Rawson, Christopher. "Theater Faces Brave New World with New Works, Classics." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 8 Sept. 2002. . Web. Ray, Ryan. Personal interview. 18 Feb. 2011. Small, Melvin. The Presidency of Richard Nixon (American Presidency Series) New York: University P of Kansas, 2003. Print. Schechner, Richard, Ed. TDR: the Drama Review 50.3 (2006). Print. Wilshire, Bruce W. Role Playing and Identity: the Limits of Theatre as Metaphor Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1982. Print. 95

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Works Consulted Altman, Robert, Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone. Secret Honor: A Political Myth United States: Criterion Collection, 2004. DVD. Anderson, Michael. "Making Theater from Data: lessons for Performance Ethnography from Verbatim Theater." Drama Austrailia Journal 31.1 (2007): 79-91. Print. Anderson, Michael, and Linden Wilkinson. "A Resurgence of Verbatim Theatre: Authenticity, Empathy and Transformation." Austrailian Drama Studies 59 (1997): 153-69. Print. Bellafante, Ginia. "The Medium, the Message, the Drama of TVs Q & A." The New York Times 26 Apr. 2007, sec. E: E1+. Print. Billington, Michael. "Frost/Nixon." Theater Record 26.16/17 (2006): 917. Print. Bottoms, Stephen. "Putting the Document into Documentary: an Unwelcome Corrective?" TDR: the Drama Review 50.3 (2006): 56-68. Print. Brecht, Bertolt. The Private Life of the Master Race New York: New Directions, 1944. Print. Brustein, Jonathan. Watergate Classics New Haven, Conn: Yale School of Drama, 1974 Print. Claycomb, Ryan M. "(Ch)oral History: Docu mentary Theatre, the Communal Subject and Progressive Politics." Journal of Dramatic Theory & Criticism 17.2 (2003): 95122. Print. Cline, Alex. Personal interview. 5 Feb. 2011 Cochran, Dolan. Personal interview. 6 Feb. 2011. 96

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97 Hammond, Will, and Dan Steward. Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre London: Oberon, 2008. Print. Hornby, Richard. Script into Performance: a Structuralist Approach New York: Paragon House, 1987. Print. Monsell, Thomas. Nixon on Stage and Screen: The Thirty -Seventh President As Depicted in Films, Television, Plays and Opera Jefferson, N.C: McFarland, 1998. Print. Morgan, Peter. Frost/Nixon London: Faber and Faber, 2006. Print. Mumford, Meg. Bertolt Brecht London: Routledge, 2010. Print. "The Nixon Tapes." White House Tapes Miller Center Presidential Recordings Program The Miller Center. Web. < >. Saldaa, Johnny. Ethnodrama: an Anthology of Reality Theatre Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2005. Print. Schechner, Richard. Between Theater and Anthropology. Philadelphia, PA: Univ. of Pennsylvania, 2002. Print. Schechner, Richard. Performance Theory London: Routledge, 2003. Print. Schlueter, Jan. "Staging Versailles: Charles Mee and the Re-presentation of History." The Journal of American Drama and Theater 17 (2005): 5-23. Print. Stovall, Sara. Personal interview. 4 Feb. 2011. Wilmington, Michael. "Secret Honor." The Criterion Collection 18 Oct. 2004. Web. . Web.