As Tuesday edges closer and we’re wondering if former US president and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump has managed to predict his own arrest, it turns out a play performed at London’s Old Vic theatre last year also predicted the Republican will end up behind bars.
In case you missed it, Trump fumed in a post on his social media platform Truth Social on Saturday and called on his supporters to “protest” and “take our nation back” amid his fears he will be arrested this week.
It comes as Manhattan’s district attorney’s office continues its investigation into an allegation by adult film star Stormy Daniels that she was paid “hush money” by Trump to keep quiet about an extramarital affair between them – a claim Trump has repeatedly denied.
While only time will tell as to whether Trump is indeed arrested, he isn’t the only person to suggest this possible scenario, as it also formed part of the plot of The 47th, a theatre show penned by Doctor Foster writer Mike Bartlett.
“It is 2024 and as America goes to the polls, democracy itself is on the brink. Who takes the White House – and at what cost,” reads the show’s description on the Old Vic website, confirming it imagines what the next presidential election will look like.
The play ran in the London venue from March to May last year, and while the following paragraphs contain spoilers for the show, it’s currently not being performed anywhere in the UK, so you’re not missing out in that respect.
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Anyway, the play sees current vice president Kamala Harris (played by Tamara Tunie in last year's staging) become the 47th president of the United States, after Joe Biden is suddenly taken ill and passes over his duties to her, not long before the 2024 presidential election.
Ms Harris then ends up taking on Trump (who was played by Bertie Carvel) in a televised debate, during which she repeats the classic words “I’m speaking”, which went viral in 2020 when she shut down former vice president Mike Pence’s interruptions.
However, ever controversial, Trump instead appears to incite violence on the streets of America.
He tells viewers of the fictional debate at the University of Michigan: “If you get bored by this and wish instead to go outside and have a party, show your love for freedom and for our great, great country, well, that surely would be beautiful.”
When the debate is interrupted by the sounds of what the moderator describes as “fireworks” from individuals who are “being escorted far away”, Trump goes on to add: “Wait, why? There’s nothing wrong with fireworks! Perhaps they’re simply having fun?
“Don’t let them tell you what to do, OK,” the former Apprentice star says directly into the camera.
As the unrest continues across the US, Ms Harris is taken aside by an official and informed of the situation, before returning to the lectern and saying: “I’ve just been told of happenings across the country, all with flames, or pyrotechnics, some with masks.
“If peaceful, then it’s fine, but here I need to say that if there’s a breach of law tonight I will enforce it firmly.”
Criticising Ms Harris for painting his supporters as “criminals”, Trump eventually addresses viewers directly – again – and states: “All of you! Enjoy the flames of freedom, brook no bar to what the constitution guaranteed.
“And why not film yourself? And TikTok too and broadcast to the world the night that we reclaimed our country.”
Such language leads to Ms Harris deciding to lock up Trump, explaining to him in prison that “you’ve been arrested not by me but by the authorities” and offering him a deal.
“You must publicly make clear you want no force or violence in your name, and furthermore agree you will accept the outcome of the free and fair election when it comes.
“If you do this, then liberty is yours, and if you don’t it’s 10 to 30 years for insurrection,” she says.
Eventually, Ms Harris decides to release Trump, believing the electorate should “know just what you are and having known, reject it out of hand”.
All of this stands in stark contrast to the actual, possible reason Trump could be arrested on Tuesday, but then again, a made-up insurrection (a second one, that is), is far more theatrical on a stage than an alleged affair.
Although there continues to be much debate around whether the ex-Potus could be approached by the police, playwright Mike Bartlett already has form in predicting future historical events.
In 2014, his play about the accession of Prince Charles (back then) to the throne following the passing of the Queen - King Charles III - included a subplot where Prince Harry (aka the Duke of Sussex) falls in love with an art student named Jess, who isn’t a member of the royal family.
Jess obviously isn’t the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, and the play sees the duke remain a royal by the end of it after breaking up with his lover, but the situation isn’t far removed from what actually happened.
Of course, the pair decided to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family” back in January 2020.
Whether Bartlett will end up getting Trump’s arrest right, albeit under slightly different circumstances, is yet to be revealed.
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