West Coast Premiere of Mamet's November, With Augesen, Felciano, Fusco, Polk, Jones, Opens at A.C.T. Oct. 28

By Kenneth Jones
28 Oct 2009

Manoel Felciano and Andrew Polk
Manoel Felciano and Andrew Polk
Photo by Kevin Berne

The American Conservatory Theatre's West Coast premiere of David Mamet's comedy November, about a corrupt U.S president and his crew, stars Andrew Polk, of A.C.T's Speed-the-Plow, as the out-of-favor president.

Ron Lagomarsino directs the play, set in the Oval Office of the White House. Opening at A.C.T. in San Francisco is Oct. 28 following previews from Oct. 23. Performances play to Nov. 15.

Polk (playing President Charles Smith) is in the company of Anthony Fusco as chief of staff Archer Brown, René Augesen as speechwriter Clarice Bernstein, Steven Anthony Jones as Native American chief Dwight Grackle, and A.C.T.'s newest addition to the core acting company, Manoel Felciano, as the representative of the National Association of Turkey and Turkey Products Manufacturers. The creative team for the show includes scenic designer Erik Flatmo, costume designer Alex Jaeger, lighting designer Alexander V. Nichols and sound designer Cliff Caruthers.

According to A.C.T., "November offers no mercy in its satirical stab at American politics. Meet President Charles Smith, the most corrupt, inept buffoon ever to sit in the Oval Office. It's the final days of his bid for a second term, but the country is a mess and his poll numbers are 'lower than Gandhi’s cholesterol.' Toss in a lesbian speechwriter longing to marry her sweetheart on national television, a cynical chief of staff, Thanksgiving turkeys awaiting pardon, and enough shady backroom scheming to make even a Glengarry Glen Ross con man blush, and you've got a new Mamet masterpiece."

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Pulitzer Prize winner Mamet's plays include American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, Oleanna and the upcoming Broadway world premiere, Race.

"Only Mamet could write such a scathing political satire about the pardoning of a turkey," Lagomarsino said in production notes. "What I love about November is that no one escapes unscathed. The president is depicted as venal, cunning, and corrupt, but don't be fooled. Only the U.S. Constitution comes out smelling like an American Beauty rose — surviving the onslaught of special interest groups and elected officials from both sides of the aisle that are attempting to bend and flex it to suit their own selfish needs."

American Conservatory Theater is at 415 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA.

For tickets, call (415) 749-2228 or visit www.act-sf.org.