of George W. Bush
--No President Left Behind!
a one-person comedy written & performed by Peterson Toscano
Now Available on Audio CD!
Through a series of lively lessons, theatrical performance activist, Peterson Toscano, with his cast of outrageously funny and thoughtful characters, playfully instructs President Bush and his audience about:
misreading the Bible
and lots more!
Bitingly funny and painfully insightful, Peterson Toscano takes no prisoners as he speaks to the George W. Bush lurking in each of us.
On his blog Peterson writes about the show. Here Peterson reflects on back to back performances in Philadelphia, PA and Providence, RI and how he channels the outrage into art. In Burps & Farts he discusses some of the environmental themes he raises and his aim in provoking his audience.
Is this a partisan play simply bashing GWB and conservatives?
A Statement from Peterson Toscano
For my play, which deals with a variety of social justice issues, I purposely chose the title, The Re-Education of George W. BushNo--President Left Behind! I desire to lure a particular demographic to the performances. I want all sorts of folks there, but especially I want to perform in front of progressive liberals who bitterly complain and moan about the president, and then believe they've actually accomplished something through their complaints and moans.
In the show I create cognitive dissonance as I initially introduce my patriotic Republican parents to the audience, then proceed to talk about my mother's battle with cancer and subsequent death. Throughout the play I share the wisdom and insight my mother gave to me about what it means to be an American. The tension I create lies under the zany characters and lessons that I give to the president, lessons that peace and social justice-minded faith communities express regularly as we explore racism, sexism, violence, homophobia, torture, environmental concerns and various forms of oppression in our country and our world.
The play does not offer a partisan message. I infuse it with humor, warmth and strong messages, not against the US government or any political party, but messages addressed to our times and the many ways in which we each contribute to the problems that plague us today. Because of this approach, the play has been well received in a variety of venues including Quaker meeting houses, conferences, churches in the US and Sweden, and at peace centers. By the end of the play, the audience realizes that the message has very little to do with George W. Bush and very much to do with our roles as Americans who desire to make this world a better place. Oh, and also it's really funny. :-)
What People are saying about Peterson Toscano & The Re-Education of George W. Bush
The Re-education of George W. Bush, was a wicked satire told in the character of Marvin Bloom, a “Jew for Jesus” from New York, who loves his praise-and-worship step-aerobic class.
Toscano worked through various personae, among them “the Revd Dr Meadows”, preaching on Sodom and Gomorrah, “God in smiting mood”. But the most endearing thing about the show was Toscano speaking in his own person: very likeable, very disarming, and so very, very funny.
The Re-Education of George W. Bush is funny, challenging, insightful, and touches our own vulnerabilities and humanity. It is a truly remarkable piece by a truly remarkable performer.
-Kiki Eglinton, audience member
To be honest I was afraid that your play would be just another lambasting session on Bush, which I just hate because (when( they just blame somebody, don't explain anything, don't help us understand anything and so (we) don't have any way forward. You clearly start from your personal experience and take clearly sides, but without being one topic focused or getting into proselytizing... And better still, although you clearly have loads of just reasons to be hurt, to be rancorous, you came across so fraternal, so bridge building, so consistently inviting ALL to "re-educate Bush", always, in all dimensions, everywhere, including each one of us...
-Gwann (João / John) Xerri, op, Marsa, Malta
After enjoying (several times) the brilliant wit, humour and insightful observations in "Doin time in the homo-nomo halfway house" it was hard to imagine how Peterson could follow such an amazing one-man play with anything that would equal it. However, the "Re-Education . . ." reveals Peterson's amazing breadth of wit, insight and imagination as he tackles a range of hugely important issues - some quite seriously, some in a deeply moving way and others with side-splitting humour. A must-see!
-Jeremy Marks, Founder and Director of Courage UK
Toscano’s acting skills as well as the format of the piece recall the one-woman shows of Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg whose character studies unearth the neurotic complications in all of us.
-John W. Sykes, in newsweekly (from review of Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House--How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement)
I have had the chance to see Peterson Toscano perform several times in Sweden. His work makes a big impact on me every time I see it. He has an ability as an actor to entertain, and at the same time, he gets the audience to really reflect on complicated issues. He then invokes the desire to make a change. His writing is very political, but at the same time very personal as he manages to weave the two things together to bring his audience to knowledge that matters to everyone.
-Alex Resare, Umeå, Sweden
I loved meeting the cast of characters who guided me through their gently hardhitting musings and dawnings about the impact of how they/we, live their/our lives. But even more I loved meeting Peterson through his willing vulnerability in sharing himself.
Ali, Wakefield, England
Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA
Greenbelt 07, Cheltenham, England
Courage UK, Oxfordshire, England
Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, Cardiff, Wales
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, Bryant University, Smithfield, RI, USA
Hartford Friends Meeting, Hartford, CT, USA
Wolski's Bar & Restuarant, Wakefield, England
Freedom Friends Church, Salem, OR, USA
Ålldhemskyrkan, Umeå, Sweden
Quaker Youth Leadership Conference, Providence, RI
Calvary United Methodist Church, Philadelphia, PA
Unitarian Society of Hartford, Hartford, CT
University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, PA (for the Friends General Conference 2008)
Reading Friends Meeting, Reading, England
Pavilion Bar, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
St. Columba's Reformed Church, Oxford, England
Tusten Theatre, Narrowsburg, NY
Warehouse No. 8, Marsa, Malta
Where is Peterson performing next? Check out his Performance Schedule
Postcard Design by Christine Bakke
Photos by Tina Encarnacion