“November” a political comedy by David Mamet was presented tonight online, the first in a series of new live-streamed productions of old plays produced by Broadway’s Best Shows, a name that in this case doesn’t fit. The virtual production starred John Malkovich as President Charles Smith, Patti LuPone as his lesbian speechwriter Bernstein, Dylan Baker as his lawyer, Ethan Phillips as the head of the turkey manufacturers association, who is balking at paying the president to pardon a turkey in the White House, and Michael Nichols, a Native American whom the President offends
“What is it about me that people don’t like?” the president asks an aide in David Mamet’s political comedy.
“That you’re still here”
“We can’t build the fence to keep out the illegal immigrants.”
President: “Why not?”
“You need the illegal immigrants to build the fence.”
Then near the end: “I always thought I’d do something memorable. I just assumed it would be getting impeached.”
The plot (such as it is) hinges on the bird flu that Bernstein contracted in China.
“November” is full of such weird parallels to the current day — one-liners and plot twists that were in the original production on Broadway in 2008, four months before the presidential election. Twelve years later, six months before the next presidential election, the new virtual production may have provoked some laughs. I gasped. And not just because of the parallels, but because of something else the play has in common with what’s happening these days — how vulgar and incoherent it is.