The following is a formal director’s proposal I made to the theater group to which I belong. Important backstory: A Few Good Men, by Aaron Sorkin, was also proposed for this slot.
Troopergate is a contemporary legal drama by Stephen Branchflower. Based on true events in his own life, it chronicles Branchflower’s attempts to dig to the bottom of a mess of personal vendettas and political conspiracies surrounding the firing of an Alaska State department head by the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.
The play opens when Branchflower is hired by the unanimous vote of a bipartisan legislative committee to determine whether or not Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wrongfully mixed the personal with the political in the firing of Walter Monegan, her former Public Safety Commissioner. Monegan, so he claims, was fired not for the shifting myriad of reasons put forward by Palin, but because he wouldn’t (and legally couldn’t) fire State Trooper Mike Wooten, at the time going through a nasty divorce and custody battle with Governor Palin’s sister. At first, it seems like it will be a straightforward, inconsequential investigation.
But that goes out the window when Gov. Palin is unexpectedly named to be the running mate of John McCain, the Republican nominee for President. Suddenly, the Palins stop cooperating, the Attorney General’s office and subordinates flout their subpoenas, and Branchflower finds himself assailed by McCain-funded Texan lawyers, with no assistance coming his way from McCain’s rival, who won’t even comment on the case.
Branchflower is unexpectedly beset on all sides by the full legal resources of a presidential campaign behaving like it has something to hide, a lawsuit from Palin’s supporters in the state legislature, and the water muddied by a shadow, sock-puppet faux-investigation started by Palin to confuse the public. It seems that the real investigation is doomed. Though the dozen or so Palin allies who failed to honor the subpoenas could be held in contempt of court, the vote cannot come until after Election Day, long after the deadline of the report.
The climax of the show comes in two courtroom scenes. One in a high Alaska court where a judge throws out the Republican lawsuit, and another, harder-fought battle in the state Supreme Court.
In the most memorable monologue of the play, Todd Palin defends his role in firing Wooten:
TODD PALIN. You want answers? You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!
Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by mavericks. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Senator French? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Wooten and you curse the governor. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Monegan’s firing, while tragic, probably created jobs. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, creates jobs.
You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You want me there.
We use words like maverick, reformer, Joe Sixpack…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ‘em as a punchline.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I’d prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you run for office. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to.
The court unanimously rules in Branchflower’s favor. The report is released, and the truth gets out.
I intend to perform the play with extremely dim lighting and in a “black box”, thus, a metaphor for how hard it is to see anything when everything is obscured; it is the black Pandora’s box of Palin’s hypocrisy.
The script is attached. Thank you for your time and consideration.