Trump Blues – The Age of Chaos
L’Età del Caos — Trump Blues (The Age of Chaos — Trump Blues) is a play written by and starring Federico & Jacopo Rampini; enhanced by Roberta Giallo’s singing and Valentino Corvino playing violin, guitar and electronic music; under the direction and lighting of Angelo Generali and produced by Corvino Produzioni.
The show opens with an emblematic footage, which sets the mood to the performance that will dissect the Donald J. Trump phenomenon: a scene from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. The wit and insight of the illustrious Italian journalist Federico, blends with the brilliant eclectic talent of his son, the young actor Jacopo. Trump Blues is a contemporary odyssey that will not just trigger amusement, rage and melancholy, but also help to understand the strategy that won the election to the 45th President of the United States.
The soundtrack of the evening is a medley of legendary tracks by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. Each one is performed, live, by the nightingale voice of Roberta Giallo and the skillful musical versatility of Valentino Corvino. The choice of musical is not fortuitous. The Rampinis selected the very songs that were chosen by Trump after his speeches (without the musicians’ permission). The most memorable of them all is The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want, that was played during Trump’s campaign rallies and at the end of his November acceptance speech after winning the election. Even though The Rolling Stones issued statements condemning the unauthorized use of the song — and Mick Jagger even joked “I’m not Donald’s DJ” — this did not stop President Trump from reminding the world that, “if you try sometimes you might find, You get what you need.”
The most sensationalistic presidency in history leads audiences through an exquisite work of theatrical journalism, where Federico Rampini continuously updates his stage readings to be au courant with Trump’s political maneuvers (the most recent being the President recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and the new Tax Plan), whilst Jacopo embodies multiple characters. We shall see him as Donald J. Trump proclaiming his notoriously populist slogans, from “Make America Great Again” to “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me,” without neglecting his accusation towards the press that he claims to deliver “fake news.”
Jacopo also embodies Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, as well as the average voter from the U.S.A. The latter, reminds non-Americans that this country is not made up solely by the California Dreaming or the erudite Big Apple. The international liberal intelligentsia has often associated the American Dream with the cities of New York, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But the true America is embodied by the inner states, where the rednecks (the poor rural white Southerners whose necks get tanned from working outdoors), have felt that their jobs were threatened by the increasing migration flow.
The so called Flyover country is unveiled by Federico Rampini’s account of his six thousand miles-trip, where he encountered the people who voted for Donald J. Trump, including a Mexican-American citizen. This journey portrays a country afflicted by social distress, where the people believed that the luxury real estate developer would create a business plan for America, capable of bringing back the country to its old glorious days.
The Trump sensation is further explained by Federico Rampini perusing the promises that were broken by globalization. It was supposed to make us all wealthier, at least in the proclamations of the Neoliberal thought. Instead it became a leveler of North-South inequalities —such as the growing economy of Chindia — but at the same time a fierce machine of impoverishment of workers and the middle class within our western societies.
With Federico Rampini’s analysis we thus realize that the America that elected Obama, for two times in a row, is not another nation, but rather a place where social unease was present and later intercepted by Trump. Furthermore Rampini Sr., unlike his left-wing colleagues, is not afraid to venture in a profound analysis regarding Islamophobia, and does not fear to delve into a politically incorrect scrutiny of the matter. Some observations evoke Oriana Fallaci’s ideas, that Mr. Rampini expresses with more grace and composure, supported by historical accounts along with intrinsic components of the Muslim culture.
Federico Rampini explores every geopolitical angle with depth, humour, and also a touch of self-irony, as he mentions the impression that Italian comedian Maurizio Crozza does of him. A very important issue is exposed by the journalist who worked as correspondent for the Italian broadsheet La Repubblica in Beijing, Paris, Brussels, San Francisco and New York, teaching at the Universities of Berkeley and Shanghai and publishing numerous essays. Before and after Trump, the masses have always felt a deep fascination for charismatic leaders, the Strong Men embodied by Gabriele D’Annunzio’s glorification of Fascism and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurism, enunciated with impetus by Jacopo.
The storytelling about The Age of Chaos, does not neglect to insert an autobiographical component of the authors-performers’ lives. Jacopo plays his father, when Federico arrived in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, in 1979, enthralled by the free-thinking radical chic America. Rampini Jr. also shares his own rollercoaster life as an actor. Jacopo Rampini, who earned a degree in Philosophy at the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris, may spend one week on the set of a humongous television series starring as the Young Stalin, and the following one he may be waiting tables, reminding foreign customers that American waiters depend on tips. The accomplished performer can simultaneously appear on the billboard of a commercial in Times Square and serve the Obama family in a Brooklyn Italian Restaurant, where the chef is from South America. Jacopo is the emblem of the current young generation, where millennials in advanced economies are poorer than their forebears.
This poignant oeuvre of performing-reportage instills in spectators a strong sense of awareness of the times we are living in. L’Età del Caos — Trump Blues was conceived to provide Italians with an understanding of how this unconventional politician managed to enter the White House, and how the land of multiculturalism seems to be swept into a new wave of Nativism. The show began its tour in the prestigious Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) and has been touring all over Italy. After the recent Milanese stop (at Teatro Leonardo da Vinci), it will continue in the Northern cities of the boot-shaped land, and hopefully an English version will apprise also the United States audiences on the most spectacularized Presidency in American history.