by Dale Reynolds

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday March 15, 2017

Harry S. Murphy and Joshua Wolf Coleman
Harry S. Murphy and Joshua Wolf Coleman  

Donald John Trump certainly is what he is and how he got to be President of the U.S. will forever perplex political historians. And the rude comparisons of him to Hitler should be left in the dust; more accurately would be a comparison to Mussolini -- a dangerous buffoon.

So how do you write a play about the 90-minute meeting outgoing President Barack Obama requested to help the newly-elected (Electoral College vote only, not the popular vote winner) President of these United States of America transition into the most important elected office in the world? Well, political journalist Ray Richmond has written his version of this meet, "Transition, v-e-r-y carefully, albeit with understated humor.

A built-in problem with any writer is how to find an emotional or intellectual truth behind Pres 45: who is he really, and how did a smart and learned fellow such as Obama handle him during this meet?

Under Lee Costello's judicious direction, with two terrific actors playing Trump (Harry S. Murphy) and Obama (Joshua Wolf Coleman), set on a substantial copy of the White House Oval Office (by Pete Hickok), with a substantial desk in the middle and surrounded on the floor by a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote; "The Arc of the Universe is Long, but it Bends Toward Justice," Richmond's play sizzles among gasps and laughs.

The script is as delightful as it is daft. To the best of our knowledge, there is no record of what exactly took place between these two men during that hour-and-a-half, so the novice playwright took his strong understanding of politicians and their foibles and wrote excellent parts for the two actors. In addition, there is a young intern (Trevor Alkazian) who is smart enough to not observe what fate had wrought.

Without a doubt Richmond favors Obama over Trump here and with amazing insight makes us aware of what might have happened there. Jaw-dropping insights at that: concerning deportations of immigrants, Israel, racist comments on Senator Elizabeth Warren's Native American ancestry ("Pocahontas"), nukes, Obamacare (ACA), and his love of Russia.

Now, how much you really want to see this dazzlingly fun show will mostly depend on what side of the political spectrum you land on. As stated above, you really cannot satirize this joker in any over-the-top manner -- he is what you see: scary and amusing in equal layers. It's a great show inasmuch as the playwright has successfully portrayed two men who are diametrically the opposite of each other, one with style and the other as a blowhard.

You must catch it before our current government forces such criticism to close, making us lose touch with our historic rights.

"Transition" plays through April 16 at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, 90038. For tickets or information, call 323-960-4418 or visit