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Theatre / November

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November is a 2008 comedic play by David Mamet. It premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on January 17, 2008, and ran until July of that year. The production was directed by Joe Mantello, and starred Nathan Lane as Charles Smith, incumbent President of the United States in need of serious help to win the upcoming election. Laurie Metcalf was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Smith's lesbian speechwriter Clarice Bernstein, who tries to persuade Smith to support gay marriage.


This play contains examples of:

  • Magical Native American: Played with in the form of Dwight Grackle, who fits several aspects of the trope, being a Native American with a spiritual bent, but he's not especially magical, and much of his posturing is a cynical ploy.
  • Relieved Failure: President Smith decides to commit career suicide by officiating a wedding between his head speechwriter and her girlfriend (the play was written back in 2007, before the national Defense of Marriage Act was repealed.) He knows that by breaking a federal law and officiating a same-sex marriage, he will alienate voters and lose re-election, but decides that being President is too stressful and offers too few opportunities for graft.
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  • Sleazy Politician: Smith is openly corrupt, and desperate enough for votes that he'll pander to anybody. Bernstein tries to take advantage of this, convincing him that letting her marry her girlfriend would win him more votes.
  • Society Marches On: In 2007, when the play was written, a President who supported gay marriage was considered to be committing electoral suicide, as gay marriage was outlawed both federally and in a large number of states. Less than a decade later, the federal Defense of Marriage Act was found to be unconstitutional.


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