Trigger warning: DETSILY? explores intimate partner and mass violence, through analogy to U.S. C.I.A. operations overseas, including invasions of sovereign countries, political assassinations, bombing and other military operations, and torture.
Just what would you do for love? To be loved? To what abuses of power—his, yours—would you consent? Guy needs Sam, and Sam is nothing without Guy. But Sam, it turns out, is a country. And Guy? Well, he’s just a guy. No, wait, let’s try that again.
As Sam and Guy work ever more desperately to reinvent the power that charges their relationship, Caryl Churchill’s Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? offers a critique of the U.S. state’s neo-imperialist foreign policy, inaction on climate change, and clandestine abuses of human rights abroad in the name of protecting freedoms at home. In the name of “the pursuit of happiness.” To protect a way of life.
But U.S. history, and its critique, doesn’t simply belong to those with gender and race privilege. Working with an ensemble, the ATB production of Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? explores how a major question of the play—what one will do to be recognized and loved as a citizen of the U.S., to enjoy freedom, and to pursue happiness—applies not only to the everyman of Churchill’s script but to members of other communities who lack what the educated white man Guy has: full citizenship, real opportunities to pursue happiness, a normative identity to be lost or given up, and the agency, both personal and political, to navigate entrenched structures of power and appropriate power as an expression of one’s own individuality.