Watch a Star-Studded Cast Read The Mueller Report: John Lithgow, Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Annette Bening & More

Laugh­ter is good med­i­cine, but I’ve found lit­tle gen­uine humor in satire of the 2016 elec­tion and sub­se­quent events. Polit­i­cal real­i­ty defies par­o­dy. So, I guess I wasn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly amused by the idea of a com­ic stag­ing of the Mueller Report. But aside from whether or not the report has com­ic poten­tial, the exer­cise rais­es a more seri­ous ques­tion: Should ordi­nary cit­i­zens read the report?

Giv­en the snowjob sum­ma­ry offered by the Attor­ney General—and cer­tain press out­fits who repeat­ed claims that it exon­er­at­ed the president—probably. Espe­cial­ly (good luck) if they can score an unredact­ed copy. Yet, this rais­es yet anoth­er ques­tion: Does any­one actu­al­ly want to read it? The answer appears to be a resound­ing yes. Even though it’s free, the [redact­ed] report is a best­seller.

And yet, “the pub­lished ver­sion is as dry as a [redact­ed] saltine,” writes James Poniewozik at The New York Times. “Robert Mueller him­self has the sto­ic G‑man bear­ing of some­one who would laugh by writ­ing ‘ha ha’ on a memo pad.” (Now that’s a fun­ny image.) One won­ders how many peo­ple duti­ful­ly down­load­ing it have stayed up late by the light of their tablets com­pelled to read it all.

But of course, one does not approach any gov­ern­ment doc­u­ment with the hopes of being enter­tained, though unin­ten­tion­al hilar­i­ty can leap from the page at any time. How should we approach The Inves­ti­ga­tion: A Search for the Truth in 10 Acts? Script­ed by Pulitzer Prize-win­ning  play­wright Robert Schenkkan from the Mueller Report’s tran­scripts, the pro­duc­tion is “part old-time pub­lic recita­tion,” writes Ponei­wozik, and “part Hol­ly­wood table read.”

The stag­ing above at New York’s River­side Church was host­ed by Law Works and per­formed live by a cast includ­ing Annette Ben­ing, Kevin Kline, John Lith­gow (as “Indi­vid­ual 1” him­self), Michael Shan­non, Justin Long, Jason Alexan­der, Wil­son Cruz, Joel Gray, Kyra Sedg­wick, Alfre Woodard, Zachary Quin­to, Mark Ruf­fa­lo, Bob Bal­a­ban, Alyssa Milano, Sigour­ney Weaver, Julia Louis-Drey­fus, Mark Hamill, and more. Bill Moy­ers serves as emcee.

Can this dark­ly com­ic pro­duc­tion deliv­er some com­ic balm for hav­ing lived through the sor­did real­i­ty of the events in ques­tion? It has its moments. Can it offer us some­thing resem­bling truth? You be the judge. Or you be the pro­duc­er, direc­tor, actor, etcetera. If you find value—civic, enter­tain­ment, or otherwise—in the exer­cise, Schenkkan encour­ages you to put on your own ver­sion of The Inves­ti­ga­tion. “Your pro­duc­tion can be as mod­est or extrav­a­gant as you like,” he writes at Law Works, fol­lowed by a list of fur­ther instruc­tions for a pos­si­ble stag­ing.

If, like maybe mil­lions of oth­er peo­ple, you’ve got an unread copy of the Mueller Report on your night­stand, maybe watching—or per­form­ing—The Inves­ti­ga­tion is the best way to get your­self to final­ly read it. Or the most grim­ly humor­ous, moron­ic, pathet­ic, and sur­re­al parts of it, any­way.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Mueller Report Released as a Free Well-For­mat­ted eBook (by The Dig­i­tal Pub­lic Library of Amer­i­ca)

Sat­ur­day Night Live: Putin Mocks Trump’s Poor­ly Attend­ed Inau­gu­ra­tion 

The Mueller Report Is #1, #2 and #3 on the Ama­zon Best­seller List: You Can Get It Free Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Rene Rudge says:

    Lith­gow is a the bad apple on this would be great pro­duc­tion. His lewd actions towards me after work­ing on the set of Har­ry and the Hen­der­sons was humil­i­at­ing and dis­turb­ing to say the least. The com­plaint I filed against him with Sag/Aftra was neglect­ed due to the time that had elapsed. I’m sure there are oth­ers he has offend­ed in his past or worse.

  • Bruce Thudium says:

    Rene Ridge, I do not take sides in your com­plaint against Mr.Lithgow. I am speak­ing to the issue of your com­plaints only.
    It seems to me that if you were being harassed, humil­i­at­ed, and Mr.Lithgow behaved in lewd actions towards you, why did­n’t you file your com­plaint as it was hap­pen­ing?
    Thank you for answer­ing my ques­tion.
    Bruce D. Thudi­um

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