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Extended Interview: Ed Begley Jr. stars in political farce 'November'

Courtesy of Centre Theatre Group

With election season underway, even plays are getting into political theatre. David Mamet's farce "November," opens at the Mark Taper forum, and tackles everything from civil unions to Thanksgiving turkey lobbyists. KPCC's Patt Morrison sat down with the star, Ed Begley, Jr. "November" runs through November 4th at the Mark Taper Forum. Tickets can be purchased at their website. An excerpt from this interview ran on KPCC's Off-Ramp.

The President is a big target for humor, what does "November" do differently?

"I had seen [past David Mamet plays] "American Buffalo," "Glengarry Glen Ross," and "Oleanna," and then I got to work with [Mamet] on "The Cryptogram," and I realized personally how funny he was. He is so funny in person, I went 'Wow, wouldn't it be great if he wrote a comedy?'"

What's "November" about?

"It's just a week before the election, and the President [has realized] how bad he's doing. He's kind of an ineffectual fellow, he's not the brightest tool in the shed, but then there's twists and turns, and David takes it round and round and its very unexpected right until the end."

Mamet wrote the play well before the 2008 primaries, did he have a particular president in mind?

"He did not have a person in mind, but there's some other familiar sounding things that occur that you might hang around the neck of other presidents."

Are his politics are very different from yours?

"They are, but I have friends that I love that have different points of view. Isn't that a wonderful part of our country that we have many divergent points of view? [The play] talks about that quite eloquently."


Ed Begley, Jr., actor and environmentalist, stars as President Charles Smith in David Mamet's "November," which runs through November 4th at the Mark Taper Forum