“Some of the main themes include same-sex marriage, and the president is trying to extort money from the turkey industry by promoting a turkey boycott at Thanksgiving,” said Bailey, the director of Le Chat Noir’s production of Mamet’s November, alluding to similarities in the play to the recent upheaval concerning boycotts of Chick-fil-A.
Written in 2007, November is a satire about a conservative president with little chance of re-election who seeks to raise money for his presidential library by shaking down the turkey industry. His lesbian speechwriter wants to marry her partner and has recently returned from China where she adopted a child and possibly contracted the Asian bird flu.
“I read this a couple of years ago, and we’ve been pocketing it until it was an election year,” said Bailey.
Playing President Charles Smith is Roy Lewis, who recently retired after more than three decades of teaching drama, most of them at Harlem High School. Even with his own theater background, Lewis calls this role a “challenge.”
“The script is 120 pages, and I’m on every page,” he said. His character never leaves the stage.
“If I was still working, there would be no way I could do it,” he said.
Also appearing in the production is talk radio personality Austin Rhodes, who takes on a different type of role.
Given his conservative stance and sometimes larger-than-life persona, Rhodes might have been typecast to play the role of the president, but he likes taking on the smaller character of the turkey representative.
“I am so out of my league with these actors. I’ve learned more sitting quietly and watching Roy and Ted (Newton, who plays the president’s chief of staff) than all my acting classes at ASU,” said Rhodes, who is debuting at Le Chat in November, but has worked with Storyland Theatre on a regular basis for the past several years.
November is Le Chat Noir’s season opener and will be staged at 8 p.m. on Fridays, Aug. 10 and 17; Saturdays, Aug. 11 and 18; and Thursday, Aug. 16. Tickets are $25. For more, call (706) 722-3322 or visit www.lcnaugusta.com.