Dennis Trainor Jr’s 2018 Solo Show
update: I am available to perform this show in YOUR HOME for a private audience of 10-20+ people you invite.
Limited dates available in late summer/early fall. For details, email me directly at DennisTrainorJr at gmail dot com
ABOUT THE SHOW:
Manifest Destiny's Child does for travel and social justice what Anthony Bourdain did for travel and fine dining. It is the true story of a man who went from a cushy job at a boarding school to the frontlines of the Occupy movement to facing down the barrel of a gun at Standing Rock in the days after Trump won the election. This story is an insider look at an outsider’s Presidential campaign. It is a story about dreamers. About beautiful idealists and fuck-ups. About revolution vs. reform. It is the story about how the American left woke up in Trumplandia.
In the winter of 2015, I had forty thousand youtube subscribers, a critically acclaimed documentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement to my name, and a newly minted blue check mark next to my twitter handle.
I know... big f*cking deal!
I was also flat broke.
So when Jill Stein called and asked me to launch her Presidential campaign, I thought of my two high school-aged children, and the bills college would bring, and said to myself: this is a job making decent cash, promoting ideas that I care about and—at the end of the day, Hillary is going to beat Jeb Bush anyway, right?
What harm could from this?
The play travels through the election (with flashbacks to Occupy Wall Street) and culminates with my time at Standing Rock in the days leading up to a historic battle between the 10,000 + allies who had come to support the Oceti Sakowin Camp and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s months-long non-violent resistance against the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline against the assembled armed forces from several local, state and federal agencies.
I’ll do all of this in a memoir, confessional monologue style in the manner of Spaulding Grey with a heavy dose of video and multimedia that became the signature style of many of my other projects.
For more details about the project, check out this videos I made for you:
The 2 minute (short version):
Or the "long" 4-minute version:
I'm raising money to support the final stages of development and launch for my solo stage show.
If you are not familiar with my work, I have a proven history of taking modest crowdfunding campaigns and exceeding expectations. I raised less than 30K to follow the Occupy Wall Street movement and created the first documentary with a
theatrical release and it was a critical success. Check out the quotes from The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and MichaelMoore.com on the trailer below:
I also crowdfunded my way out of creating videos in my basement with a few clip lamps (see here:)
to producing and hosting a nationally syndicated TV show filmed in a fancy Los Angles Studio:
So, when you donate to one of my projects, you know I am going to make the most of it!
QUESTION: But wait, you do documentaries, what the hell do you know about acting and producing plays?
ANSWER: My original professional training, creative disposition and true love are for working on the stage.
I’ll let you in on a secret: I did all of my past projects knowing NOTHING about producing documentaries or TV shows.
The theater is in my bones. I’m a professional actor— a member of Actors Equity (the professional union of stage actors)—and a classically trained actor: I have my MFA from the American Conservatory Theater. I was the founding co-artistic director of a critically acclaimed downtown NYC theater company and I have written two other plays (Plug, and I Coulda
Been A Kennedy) that have been produced in New York.
QUESTION: Okay, what are you going to do with the money I donate?
ANSWER: With these funds, I will do the following:
1. (July/August 2018) Work with a Director and other Theater makers to workshop the current script, including the time for re-writes.
2. (August 2018) Work with my creative partners to create the multi-media aspects of the show.
3. (Fall 2018) Produce an invite-only staged reading for select guests and/or potential co-producers in Boston and/or New York)
4. Establish the seed money required to produce a full-scale production.
QUESTION: Will you give me any rewards for donating?
ANSWER: Why yes, I'm glad you asked!
$27: A personalized, signed copy of the manuscript.
(delivery: by September 15, 2018)
$100: an invite to the private staged reading
(date: TBD, expected in September 2018 in Boston and/or New York)
$300- $500+: I will give a private reading/performance in your home for you and your invited guests. Please note: I am happy to go anywhere to do this, but for travel more than 2 hours outside of the New York City or Boston area, you are responsible for travel costs + lodging)
$ Donate any amount: Karma is a Boomerang. Enjoy the good feelings and good karma coming your way!
For much of the 2016 Presidential campaign, my first and last phone call each day was with Jill Stein—and that is only when we were not physically together crisscrossing the country. As of this writing, thanks to Jill's trip to Russia and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence interest in same, we only communicate through lawyers.
In the winter of 2015, I had forty thousand youtube subscribers, a critically acclaimed documentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement to my name, and a newly minted blue check mark next to my twitter handle. I was also flat broke.
So when Jill Stein called and asked me to launch her Presidential campaign, I thought of my two high school-aged children, and the bills college would bring, and said to myself: this is a job making decent cash, promoting ideas that I care about and so, what harm could from this?
My solo show, Manifest Destiny's Child, does for travel and social justice what Anthony Bourdain did for travel and food.
It is the story of a man who went from a cushy job at a boarding school to the frontlines of the Occupy movement to facing down the barrel of a gun at Standing Rock in the days after Trump won the election. This story is an insider look at an outsider’s Presidential campaign. It is a story about dreamers. About beautiful idealists and fuck-ups. About revolution vs. reform. It is the story about how the American left woke up in Trumplandia.
Dennis Trainor Jr is the creator of two critically acclaimed documentaries: American Autumn, and Legalize Democracy as well as the creator/host of the nationally syndicated News and politics TV program Acronym TV. From January 2015- September 2015 he served as Communications Director for Jill Stein for President. He returned to the campaign as an independent contractor in July 2016-November 2016 as an embedded video producer, crisscrossing the country with Jill producing videos TV commercials and videos for the campaign’s social media platforms.
A short while after Trump got elected, I was a guest at a dinner party of a wealthy Hillary Clinton supporter’s home. The hosts were very nice people, but rich—and that always makes me uncomfortable. To make matters more complex, the hosts were parents of my children’s friends, and because my children go to a private rich boarding school (for free, because my wife is on the faculty) the other assembled guests were the kind of wealthy liberals who (by hard work, luck, or some other factors) could afford to pay something close to $60K a year for HIGH SCHOOL.
At events like these, I usually feel like the downstairs people on that PBS show Downton Abby—but not on this occasion. The hosts, and assembled company were delightful.
Anyway, I’m trying to avoid peppering the casual party conversation with party-friendly phrases like "neoliberal agenda" or "Capitalism is not in crisis, Capitalism is the crisis!” or even “Israel is an apartheid state and that the Palestinian people deserve to be free!” because it is my children who are the guest of honor and I don’t want to be THAT DAD.
So I behave.
At some point, the host, T____, turns to me and says: "Dennis, what are you working on now?"
"Well T____," I say "I'm writing a book. And a solo play. A one-person show!"
“Oh. About what?” — More parents at the party, not just T____ now, seem interested. They are leaning in. It seems I hold the conch.
"Well, about my time working on a variety of social justice and political causes. Like my time at Occupy Wall St.. I actually did a documentary about that—"
Various people chimed in, overlapping: -“Oh, yes.”
“So important. Good for you!”
-“Wow, so interesting,” says my growing audience.
And then I add: — and, I was at Standing Rock—
Now even more people seem interested:
- “Oh. Wow, Standing Rock”
-“wow, with the Pipeline? The Native... the India...?..., the Native Americans?”
-“And the water cannons?”
-“We donated to that! Wait you were there?”
And then I said: “And my work for Jill Stein’s campaign for President.”
There was a Looooooooooong pause.
Crickets began to chirp.
“yeah, I was her Communications Director,” I said “I launched her Presidential campaign.”
And then, joking, but not joking, T____ said: "Well, when people want to know the answer to the question, how did we get into this Trump mess, I'll tell them to speak to you.”
Someone else changed the subject.
I think we talked about composting or something to re-establish the narrative that we are all on the same team.
Fast forward to today. That solo show I was working on, is FINISHED. In some ways, it is a 90-minute response to T____.
The play is NOT a defense of the Green Party.
It is also not a rant. It does not pretend to know all of the answers.
In many ways, it is very different than anything I have ever done. And, because it is a piece of theater, I get to return to the art form of my first love and my professional training.
I’ve established a go fund me campaign to help me get this off the ground. I hope you take a peek at the details, and—if you like what you see, consider supporting the project.
*** Here is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/dennistrainorjr
Workshops begin Tuesday, July 24th for my solo show, working title: Manifest Destiny's Child. I hope you check out the details of the project here, and if you like what you see, support the project!
The piece begins and ends at Standing Rock in December of 2016, just a month after Trump won the election—but before he took office. So, right at the beginning of the shit show we are living through right now.
In an effort to understand Where We Are, and by that I mean: where have we arrived?—the TRUE story of my solo show circles back from the Standing Rock moment to examine my own work for the last decade... the ten years that lead me to Standing Rock centered around creating media for, and sometimes organizing directly with, people fighting against what Martin Luther King had called the three evils of society: militarism, poverty, and racism—to which the generation younger than mine had justifiably added ecological devastation.
Even during the Obama administration this work often felt like throwing sand at an incoming tsunami.
On election night, that tsunami reared up violently, hit the shore and transformed from water to man like something right out of a Michael Bay summer blockbuster action movie and transformed like a… well, like a Transformer, I suppose.
It morphed into a giant Godzilla monster in the form of—can you see it?— Donald Trump. Look up! Giant Donald Trump stands astride of the whole proceedings now, a fire-breathing giant with his red tie swinging between his legs. A ten-thousand foot tall, pussy grabbing, Muslim banning, Make-America-White-Again-in chief, Donzilla.
(^^^ and I'll talk like that, with plenty of multimedia elements thrown in, alone on stage, for a full-length show.)
Thanks for considering.