The American Play

Mackenzie is a long-time politician who, like all, long to become president of the USA. With a further promotion in The Cabinet he starts to believe that he can become president.
Manipulated by the media, his family, and his own sheer ambition, he achieves his goal. But at what price?
A startling modern-day account of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, that makes the 400 hundred year-old play relevant to modern-day American politics.

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1. The American Play

The American Play ~ By David Burke

 It was a warm July’s day, an extra bottle of water was given to each of the four people at the table. On this table sat Neil Mackenzie, the US Secretary of Defence, and the three most important figures of American media: the owner of CNN, the owner of FOX News; and the owner of Hearst News.

 “I agree with President Duncan politically, but his polls are very poor at the moment and we need someone who is more decisive at this time of economic crisis.” said the owner of CNN. “And his ideas for advancing warfare technology are too predictable,” added the FOX News owner. “This is why I think you should run for Presidency, sir.”

“Then you would have it all sir; Secretary of Defence, Treasury Secretary, and Presidency.” said the Hearst News owner.

 All through this debate, Mackenzie had not said anything, possibly he was contemplating Presidency; but what had just been said had brought him right back down. “What did you say?”

 “Secretary of Defence, Treasury Secretary, and President.”

“But I am not Treasury Secretary, and Presidency is just an ambitious fantasy.”

“But it is still a fantasy?”

“Yes, as it is for every American politician.” Then, the owner of CNN took out an iPad and tapped on a news application (CNN of course), and the main headline read: Mackenzie Appointed Treasury Secretary. “How come I seem to be the last person to know everything around here?” asked Mackenzie. “Well, we are the news after all, aren’t we?” replied the FOX owner.

The meeting was then adjourned, but Mackenzie stayed back a bit to send his wife an email, telling her of all that had happened in the meeting, and how he was looking forward to spending some time with her that didn’t involve heated discussions about politics or underground movements.

As it turned out, he didn’t get his way. By the time he got back, his child, Banks, had already been put to bed, strangely, as it was two hours before he was generally put to sleep. But he quickly understood why:

“You need to change how things are run at the White House darling.” His wife exclaimed, taking off his coat and becoming unusually attentive towards him.

“But we have an elected president in Duncan” said Mackenzie.

“Why don’t you just kill the son of a bitch then!” she flashed back at him. “That is, if you are man enough to call yourself my husband.” They stared at each other for a long time. No-one felt they could compose themselves enough to speak civilly. But deep inside, Mackenzie deeply contemplated his wife's words.

It was a very stressful night, and amidst tossing and turning, Mackenzie gave up the fight against awakening, and made himself a coffee at 3 o’clock in the morning. All through the night he had had strange dreams about Duncan, a picture of he and his wife outside the White House, and guns beckoning him to kill. It was going to be a hectic day, and he knew it.

Mackenzie left without a word or even a kiss goodbye for his wife and set out for early morning rush-hour. He was grateful as it gave him time to clear his head and contemplate the next few hours.

Mackenzie rushed into the office and notified everyone to raise a terrorist alarm because someone was going to assassinate President Duncan. Amongst all the confusion Mackenzie arranged for him and some soldiers to meet with Duncan. He travelled with his soldiers by helicopter to Texas to meet with Duncan and his family.

Just as the helicopter was about to land Mackenzie pulled one soldier aside and said to him: “I want you to kill your President,” he then took out his phone to show him a picture. It was of President Duncan and the leader of Al Qaeda shaking hands. “That’s why. It is your patriotic duty to do so. If you don’t; countless American lives could be at risk” said Mackenzie. The soldier took a sharp intake of breath and replied: “Yes sir.”

They landed on the helipad and jogged over to the President who was barely out of his nightclothes and his startled-looking family who seemed relieved to see them. There was also the vice-president, Duffy, who looked equally as astounded. Mackenzie knew he also had to get him out of the way.

Because the young soldier hadn’t been directed to kill Duffy, he didn’t. Mackenzie then drew his gun and shot the young boy twice: into his chest and into his head, and within seconds he was dead.

The unfolding of events was actually ideal for Mackenzie as minimum suspicion was directed towards him. However, all the evidence was pointing at Duffy who fled the country to Mexico; which added to the growing suspicion that he masterminded the crime.

Because of his status and the high regard in which Duncan had held Mackenzie, he became the President of the United States of America, and he, his wife and Banks all moved to live in the White House. In his opening speech Mackenzie claimed that the vice-president and the soldier were part of the same terrorist group that killed Duncan.

But all the pressures of Presidency began to mount, and people soon started to question his abilities. Some people even started to believe that he was behind the murder of Duncan. With all the chaos that was taking place, he felt he needed to re-group and organised a meeting with the owners of CNN, FOX News and Hearst News.

Instead of a public, televised conference that would jeopardise Mackenzie’s privacy, the meeting took place inside the White House behind closed doors. He had expected a bleak reception because of the current state of affairs the country was in. But on the contrary he was welcomed in as a hero.

Mackenzie’s puzzled look must have shown as the owner of CNN explained: “Despite the country’s economic position at the moment; your opposition are proposing laws that would have devastating consequences on not only the US people, but people around the world.”

“If you have doubts, I would suggest you suspend the constitution” suggested the FOX News owner. “Then, no American could ever be able to get rid of you.” added the Hearst News owner. Although Mackenzie was very worried, he wasn’t sure that suspending the constitution would be the best way to deal with that.

“No American?” he said, with a thoughtful tinge to his voice. “That’s right.” replied the Hearst News owner. The news owners then left Mackenzie as he contemplated what a big decision this could be.

*

Somewhere near Mexico City a man sat in a luxurious hotel’s lobby. He was waiting for his passport to arrive. It was the same routine he had carried out every day for the past six months.

But today, as the post arrived he went straight over to the check-in desk and, almost like fate, took a letter addressed to him out of the pile. He opened it; and to his delight he found a Mexican passport with his picture and full name in.

He quickly took out his laptop and looked up flight-times to Washington DC. He booked the nearest flight time which was in a couple of hours, he checked out of his hotel and got a taxi to Mexico City International Airport.

Meanwhile at the airport, a plane touched down from Mexico City and Duffy stepped out and inhaled a good deal of the damp, cold American air. He quickly pulled out his Blackberry to email his secretary, ordering him to arrange a televised speech.

*

It was then that Mackenzie declared to the people of the USA that he would suspend the constitution, and declared himself president for life. “To prevent other terrorist attacks; because the constitution undermines the fight against terrorism.”

The decision caused much unrest among the American people and politicians of Mackenzie's party broke away to form a new party that prioritised and initiated the main protests against the President's tyrrancy.

*

Leading up to the speech, Duffy was fairly confident, as he knew he had the backing from the majority of the American people (and world's population), but now; he was less so. He started to wonder what might happen to him after the speech. But it was too late to back out now…

He didn’t need to introduce himself, and addressed the camera in a serious manner: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I call for you at this time of crisis because I do not believe what the President is doing is right. First of all, I was there when President Duncan was killed. He was killed by a young soldier; who was ordered to kill Duncan and his family by Mackenzie when he was “protecting” them. Also, the terrorist alarm that was created that day was a fake that he used so that he could frame me.

‘He is taking you and me for granted as he has used the same excuse twice to bend the truth in favour of himself. He has said that the constitution “undermines the fight against terrorism” but has not given an example of why that is. Why does it?

‘He kills a constitutionally elected president and tries to frame someone else for it. He takes the country into his own hands, and it plummets like a stone. There has not been a crisis like this for 100 years, economically or socially. And then he goes and makes himself president for life and everybody is supposed to be okay with this? Well, I’ll tell you my friends, there’s no reason for any of us to be, and we don’t have to accept it.’

Epilogue

Neil Mackenzie was arrested the following day for treason and murder in the first degree. He is now on Death Row awaiting the result of his appeal. Angela Mackenzie wife was found at the bottom of the Anacostia River the day Mackenzie was arrested. Duffy swapped his temporary Mexican passport for his original US citizenship and became President of the United States of America. And the newspapers carry on writing stories

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