By David Poland email@example.com
Theater… I Hardly Knew Her – Pt 1
An excellent day of theater in NY yesterday.
First, David Mamet’s farce, November, about a president facing a losing second-term election and the infusion of last minute hope for… something. The show is a little deceptive for an audience that is all to eager to read Nathan Lane’s desperate buffoon/survivor as George W Bush. But Mamet is after more than that here. November is a show that speaks more to the natural hypocrisy of the people who choose the life of high office, rather than any one buffoon.
With just a few minor edits, Lane could be playing the gay, eloquent, manipulative speech writer with Laurie Melttcalf as The President… especially with Hilary Clinton threatening to push her way into office, changing the rules as she tries to snatch victory from someone who has – for all intents and purposes – already won the primary election. And really, Dylan Baker could leap into either role effectively with either of his co-stars playing the dry, caustic, relentless Chief of Staff. They would all be quite different in each role, but the show would hold up. Really, no one is “doing” Bush here… except for being a screw up and being in Iraq. But this is not, say, Thomas Hayden Church or Kevin Costner as The President, bringing the good ol’ boy to the party. (Actually, Lane is in a presidential election seeking last-man-voting Costner’s vote in Swing Vote this summer.)
November is not going to win the big awards. It can’t beat the size and scope of August: Osage County, the weight of Rock-n-Roll. Lane will get smushed by a Seafarer or someone we haven’t seen yet. Metcalf will lose to an Osager. But, November is a show that audiences should eat up. It’s broad, but it is whippet smart. And while August makes you laugh, but sends you out reeling, November is loaded with “did he really say that”s, but sends you out of the theater laughing about how slippery it all is.