If you’re in Edinburgh, Scotland anytime in the next week, you may want to check out a play called MICKEY MOUSE IS DEAD writen by Jessi D. Hill. Here’s the description:
A searing look into friendship, national identity and the politics of paranoia, the Happiest Place on Earth will never be the same.
Hollywood, 1952. Are the Communists coming? Senator McCarthy hunts Reds, the Rosenbergs are doomed to die, and Walt Disney spies for the FBI. Harris and Finch, scriptwriters at the Disney Studio, are plotting to unionize. Walt’s just been called to name names. How much does he know about them? Can Grace, Finch’s trust-fund girlfriend, penetrate Walt’s private playground? How far will Walt go to save Mickey Mouse from becoming a Commie Yid?
After reading reviews of the play, the first thing I noticed is that it’s about two Disney scriptwriters who write animated shorts. Notice a problem with that? Scriptwriters didn’t write shorts at Disney, story artists did. Also, in this play, the writers are trying to unionize in the early-1950s, which makes no sense because at the time Disney artists had already been unionized for over a decade. I understand that it’s a piece of fiction, but if the playwright hasn’t even made the effort to create a semi-believable set-up, it makes one seriously question the rest of the production. For my money, a play about the actual Disney strike of ’41, and the tensions between artists on the picketline and those who remained inside, would make a far more riveting and interesting production. Then again, a play like that would require a writer who actually knows his history. Reviews of this play can be found HERE, HERE and HERE.
(Thanks, Andrew Osmond)
UPDATE: Corey Klemow writes about a Disney-themed play currently being staged in Los Angeles:
There must be something in the air… there’s also a play in L.A. right now set at the Disney studios. “Lobster Alice” (which I haven’t seen yet; reviews range from raves to decidedly mixed) takes place during the time Salvador Dali was working at Disney in 1946 on “Destino,” while production is also getting started on “Alice in Wonderland.” Judging from the reviews, it’s not really about animation at all (Dali helps a repressed young animator who is working on “Alice” to pursue the woman he loves), but at least the person Dali befriends at Disney is an animator and not a scriptwriter.” Details HERE.