Just in time for the home stretch of an R-Rated presidential election season, Hampton Theatre Company brings David Mamet’s “November,” a hilarious and scathingly satirical take on American presidential politics, to the Quogue Community Hall for their season-opening production.
The play opens on October 20 and runs through November 6.
“November” drops in on first-term U.S. President Charles Smith in the final week before Election Day. While his party affiliation is neither clear nor relevant, one thing seems certain: this egomaniacal and irredeemably venal politician has no chance of winning reelection. With approval ratings near zero, he’s been abandoned by his reelection committee, has run out of money and his wife is preparing to move out of the White House.
Still, President Smith isn’t ready to give up just yet, and he sees a glimmer of hope when the Turkey Representative comes calling at the White House seeking the traditional Presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey. But in order to make the biggest deal of his presidency, Chuck will need all the help he can get from his chief of staff, Archer Brown; his brilliant speechwriter, Clarice Bernstein, and Chief Dwight Grackle of the Micmac Nation.
Premiering on Broadway in 2008, “November” remains eerily relevant in this 2016 election season. With Mamet’s trademark no-holds-barred, politically incorrect and profanity laden style, the laugh-out-loud comedy is a caustic characterization of the egomania and moral elasticity that infect too many politicians, and the kind of power-madness that’s a danger in any elected official.
In a review of the Broadway production in The Guardian of London, “November” was classified as “a savage farce,” with David Mamet “in contention for the title of America’s best living playwright.”
In a review in The New Yorker, John Lahr wrote: “At once a barbarian, a bully, and an idiot … Smith brings oxygen to Mamet’s rhetorical brilliance—so much so that Mamet seems almost giddy with pleasure as he makes his cretinous creation squirm.”
The cast of HTC’s “November” features four of the company’s veterans and one newcomer. Playing Charles Smith is longtime HTC company member Andrew Botsford, last seen as Vanya in the 2016 production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” Matthew Conlon, last on the HTC stage in “Clybourne Park” and “Hay Fever” in 2015, has the role of chief of staff Archer Brown.
Rebecca Edana, who most recently played Bella in HTC’s 2016 production of “Lost in Yonkers,” is head speechwriter Clarice Bernstein. Matthew O’Connor, last on the Quogue stage in HTC’s “Bus Stop” in 2008, plays the Turkey Representative, and newcomer Rob Byrnes has the role of Dwight Grackle.
HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.
As a playwright, David Mamet is perhaps best known for Glengarry Glen Ross (produced by the Hampton Theatre Company in 2008). The 1982 hit won him the Pulitzer Prize for drama as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and he later adapted it for the big screen, garnering an Academy Award nomination.
His work is characterized by dark themes played out by often desperate characters who veer from the truth to manipulate others for their own selfish ends. Mamet’s trademark rapid-fire dialogue is distinguished by its colloquial diction, interruptions and thick swarms of obscenities, and is written with a precise rhythm in mind.
New this season, the HTC is offering $15 discount tickets for audience members 35 and under, and an additional matinee performance on the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, November 5, at 2:30 p.m., prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening.
Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for senior citizens over 65.
Shows on Thursdays and Fridays are at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Hampton Bays, and Quogue libraries. Information about the dinner and theater packages is available at www.hamptontheatre.org, or through the libraries.
To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1.866.811.4111.