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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

David Mamet's 'November' is a June hit in Arlington

Dominion Stage's November now playing at Arlington's Theatre on the Run made me realize why I adore community theatre.

It was thoroughly delightful (if you've got a hardened ear), funny, entertaining, and that's why we go, isn't it? Oh, and to ponder all the questions the content may summon. This script is all too real, and full of hilarious (for the most part) one-liners.

The president of the United States is running for re-election which means cash, and lots of it, is necessary to save his seat in the upcoming election only days away, and, by the way, fund his presidential library in case he should lose.

Throughout the play "President Charles Smith" (Dave Wright) banters with his attorney (James Senavitis) whose major role is to calm the testy, emotional president, and to answer the constantly ringing telephones. (A major feat, to answer approximately 1,000 calls on one of three (or four?) phones in the Oval Office. No one missed a beat. T. J. and Jessi Keiter, the directors, Kevin DeMine (sound) and Marcia Carpentier (properties) are to be commended.)

Wright is absolutely marvelous and delivers a performance worthy of a Helen Hayes nomination. The other characters, particularly Aimee Meher-Homji, the "president's" speechwriter, and Gary Cramer, a turkey dressed as a mouse who is a turkey lobbyist, are exceptional. Both of these individuals have their own platforms and want the president's attention, if you please. Can they help him get re-elected? That's all that matters, or is it? It's all about me-me-me-me-me, Mamet.

The first and second acts begin to roll, gathering steam and commotion to launch the third act which zooms right outa here, and the prez comes around as more of a person with a heart, after all. (Missing from some politicians.)

The dialogue is so quick and punchy, one hardly has time to notice the set decoration, elaborate for a small theatre and put together for the most part by David M. Moretti, the president of Dominion's board, in charge of "set dressing" for this production.

Although David Mamet wrote the play in late 2007 (and it's not a typical Mamet drama, he, the author of Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow), the issues remain the same from election to election, big, small, and in-between: It's all about the money, honey.  (Of course.)

The language is coarse with plentiful f-bombs, but really, their droppings have become so commonplace and monotonous not only in this production, but everywhere, they could float off a turkey's back. (Sorry.)

If you haven't been to TOTR, let not the area's industrial setting intimidate you. The TOTR sign is not directly on Four Mile Run, but sits about a half block away, perpendicular to the street. Parking is available around back and well lighted. Arlington's Cultural Affairs Division, a sponsor and occupant of the building, manages the facility which is a nice surprise inside, and during the single intermission, guests may view the art exhibit in the lobby area (and buy pieces and a few treats, too, of course.) Enjoy!
What: November

Duration:  Less than two hours
When: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday nights, now through June 16
Where: Dominion Stage at Theatre on the Run, 3700 South Four Mile Run, Arlington 22206
How much: $20.00 at the door or save $2 by ordering tickets ahead online

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