Andrea Cain has been performing her entire life, even through pursuing degrees in Mathematics and Education from Illinois Wesleyan University. Her minor in Theatre Arts allowed her to explore the world of theater critique, and she has enjoyed freely blogging about her experiences for many years. She can be found dancing, writing, and practicing different dialects with her family in her free time.
By Andrea Cain
The tiny theater space at Madison Street Theater is housing a very high-energy little David Mamet show. NOVEMBER, produced by Habakkuk Theatre, is as relevant as it is fast-paced. However, the excitement that comes from entertaining writing and very little breathing room between lines do not make up for the somewhat frantic nature of the storytelling.
We meet President Smith (Brian Rabinowitz) and his lawyer Archer Brown (Jamie Black) during election season. Smith is frantic to gather money to start putting out campaign ads, for his polls are less than desirable. The unbelievable childishness that is this character is evident immediately. He cares for nothing but money and his own personal success. He brings in his speechwriter, Bernstein, on her sick day (played by the smart and endearing Rachel Whyte) to help him get out of this hole. We meet the turkey guy (the sweet and determined Todd Aiello), who just wants the president to pardon his turkey after letting it sniff his hand, but this must be exploited somehow as well.
Throughout the show, we are exhausted by the president’s selfishness and unwillingness to let anyone else speak for more than a few words. And yes, this is the real opinion of quite a few people in our current political climate. The show is meant to raise awareness of what it’s like having a child in the oval office. And it’s terrifying. However, without allowing the audience to really absorb everything going on, the message loses some effect.
If you are looking for a high-energy show with a few giggles, this is definitely the piece for you. However, if your goal is to have a thought-provoking conversation afterword, you may need to have a nap first.