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An ordinary guy is, like many, fed up with politics. What’s more, he thinks the country would be better off with someone like him in charge. Inexplicably, the next morning he wakes up as the President of the United States—and has to navigate a series of crises, including a natural disaster and a diplomatic crisis that spirals into a nuclear catastrophe.
Such is the premise of “Greg in Charge,” a play that will run at the Adams Pool Theater from Nov. 4 to 6, on the precipice of the election. The producer and writer, Daniel J. Kenny ’18, who is also the editor-in-chief of Satire V, chose farce as his medium to portray the present political pandemonium. He cites Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” as an inspiration in writing “Greg In Charge,” from which the titular protagonist derives his name.
The characters do not explicitly satirize either presidential candidate but rather serve to represent the shortcomings and disappointments of the country’s political system as a whole. “It is an echo of the hilarity that is our present political atmosphere right now, but with a refreshing amount of nothing to do with anything on the nose that’s actually happening,” says Ali L. Astin ’19, who will play Greg’s vice president.
Beyond the domestic sphere, the play also reflects the current populist moment that spans Western democracy. “On the one hand, there’s the idea that an ordinary person can just be put in charge, and we’re seeing that right now with Trump,” Kenny says. “And you have this sort of technocrat/bureaucrat of Washington, which is now being represented by Hillary Clinton…. So in a sense it’s a satire of both the long-time politicians and those who are saying, ‘Why not? I’ll try this out.’”
While the premise of the play itself is undoubtedly politically charged, Jamie P. Herring ’18, Greg’s chair of the joint chiefs of staff, describes the play as light-hearted. According to Herring, the morale of the story is clear and simple: “We shouldn’t be so hard on politicians, because regardless, they’re going to do a better job than we are.” Kenny’s openness to ad-lib contributions to the script and provision for actor interpretation support this lively and kinetic take on the upcoming election.
So what audience does “Greg in Charge” target? The answer seems to include just about anyone. “If you want to feel vaguely or ambiguously upset at politics or just laugh your ass off, that’s the reason we’re here,” Astin says.
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