Premiered by So Much Hot Air (Jennifer Beattie, mezzo-soprano, and Zachary Pulse, english horn) on November 3, 2017 at the University of Pennsylvania.

TEXT

Psstt. This crowd is massive. Psstt pst pst. Look how far back it goes... This audience is the biggest ever. Fact. This crowd is HUUGE. Look how far back it goes! Facts and. Have you ever seen a bigger crowd at one of these things? It looks like a thousand-and-a-half people. Facts and events.

Now the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Facts are. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive. Are Infin.

It went all the way back to the Washington monument ... Infinitely. It looked like a million-and-a-half people...

Fragile things

It was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.

The way that you just laughed at me is actually symbolic of the—Facts— very representative of the way we’re treated by the press. Facts and. I’ll just ignore it. Events. I’m bigger than that. I’m a kind and gracious person.

The liar wants to change the world.

Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. Facts—You’re saying it’s a falsehood. Are infin.

Sean Spicer, our press secretary, Infinitely. gave alternative facts to that

Are fragile things...
Once they are lost,
fragile things
no rational effort,
will ever
once lost,
ever
them
bring
back

by Baldwin Giang

PROGRAM NOTES

don't be so overly dramatic, chuck is a tragi-comedy that uses excerpts from a public speech by President Donald Trump given the day after the his inauguration, Sean Spicer's first White House Press Briefing, and an interview between Kellyanne Conway and MSNBC's Chuck Todd also on the subject of the Inauguration. Interspersed throughout the body of the piece, and shown in italics, are fragments of text inspired by the political theorist Hannah Arendt's essay "Truth and Politics" (1967). Subsumed within the chaotic noise of the other texts, and revealing itself in its entirety only by the end of the piece, Arendt's wisdom proves to be both of unprecedentedly timely importance, and in present danger of being lost to public life. Arendt presciently argues that the conditions of the political sphere are surprisingly not well suited to affirming factual truth, as our current political discourse tragically shows. Art, similarly, has never had a solid relationship with factual truth, and I argue it rarely, if ever, has attempted to have one. Instead it is often thought of as striving for a different kind of truth. Insofar as art is premised on a negation of factual truth, however slight, can art, through its own brand of truth or lack of truth, illuminate the deficiencies of our political sphere in new ways? Even more ambitiously, can art reclaim what politics has lost?"