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Daniel Kinch  

playwright / theatre director, U.S.A.



Ben Roberts performing A Clown, A Hammer, A Bomb and God by Dan Klinch at the Hague Appeal for Peace, 1999.
Photographs by Sonja van Kerkhoff.


I´m pretending Iím living in Kiev and saving up my paycheck for months until I have enough money for an Arch Deluxe. My salary isn´t keeping up with inflation, there aren´t enough jobs anyway, the food and water is suspect ever since the Chernobyl plant blew up, and the future looks lousy. So why are those Americans spending all the treasures of the world to threaten me? Why are they still pointing missiles at me? If I were living in Kiev, I´d personalize it. Iíd start saying ´Whatís wrong with these people?´. I´m ten feet away from the silo that holds the death sentence for everyone within thirty miles of Kiev. None of us want that missile to fly over and blow up the city of Kiev. Do we? I said, DO WE? Well, your name is on the missile. And so is mine. It says US right on it. If you´ve been paying taxes and living in the confines of the law, you can´t pretend you didnít think the missile going off over Kiev was a good idea. You canít even pretend, the way the German civilians did after World War II, that you didn´t know what your government was doing in your name. Even if you don´t read papers or watch television, you can´t say you didn´t know anymore. I TOLD YOU. After today, you´ll never be able to say you didn´t know. You´re welcome.

Text from the play, A Clown, A Hammer, A Bomb and God, written by Daniel Kinch and performed by Ben Roberts



Ben Roberts in conversation with Sonja van Kerkhoff, May,1999.

"I tell people that the only two playwrights I work with are Dan and Shakespeare, and Shakespeare wonít return my calls!

The work I do with Dan, which involves co-directing and co-producing, as much as performing on stage, is issue-oriented, faith-based, often comedic, and always political..."

...Dan came up with an idea for a play for the first New York City Fringe Festival in ´97. He wanted to do a play about someone involved in the Plowshares Movement (a movement in which individuals perform acts of civil disobedience directed at disarming nuclear weapons plants) and wanted to use the story of Carl Kabat, a Catholic priest, who dressed in a clown suit and used bolt cutters to cut his way into a nuclear missile plant on Good Friday (April Fool´s Day) in 1994.

Iím here to be a fool for God. I´m here to make a joyful noise.
(He takes out the horn and honks it several times. He then speaks, honking the horn for punctuation/in time with Amazing Grace)
Praise God, Praise God, Praise God, Praise GOD, Praise God, Praise God, Praise God...
Praise God, Praise God, Praise God, Praise GOD,
Praise God, Praise God, Praise God...

(He stops after a long series of honks) That may be annoying to some of you. Weíll stop. But remember the lyrics in case it comes up later. ... And Iím tired of preparing for this day. Iíve been praying and thinking about this moment. For months this moment has come to me and now...itís here. My task is to make the unholy holy. Or at least to disarm it as best I can.

from A Clown, A Hammer, A Bomb and God.

The play was chosen by the producers at the festival to be part of the best of the fringe, which meant moving to another theatre and nine more performances. Since then they have done about 60 performances (12 productions), and every time they have performed it have been invited to do it again elsewhere. So they haven´t needed to hunt for a new venue. Generally it is performed for peace-oriented groups, which is really preaching to the converted. At first Ben had reservations about this, but when he saw how much these people loved the play, he realised that celebrating their beliefs and making them laugh at the same time was important too. Ideally, he would love to do this performance for teenagers not particularly interested in peace, to get them thinking about these issues, and tell the story of the Plowshares Movement to those who have not heard of it before.

At the moment Dan is working on another piece to contrast with this one - another 50-minute piece to make the performance a show for a full evening. Here he wants to portray a person from a very different perspective, such as a character more interested in imperialist nationalist interests than in all of humanity....

Excerpts from pages 6 - 7, Arts Dialogue, June 1999.

Check out the website: http://www.interport.net/~danmk or
http://users.rcn.com/danmk for more about Daniel Kinchís plays and the Ploughshares Movement.


  • Profile with Ben Roberts: Arts Dialogue, June 1999

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