Real talk: this might have been the funniest first rehearsal we’ve attended!

POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive is a farce, so there were a lot of slamming doors, innuendoes, and talk of Crocs (you’ll understand once you see the show).

Artistic Director Hana S. Sharif spoke first, saying she hopes this show brings “lots of joy, laughter, and conversation.” This was her first first rehearsal as Artistic Director, so the room was full of palpable excitement, not only for POTUS, but for Arena’s future in general.

Playwright Selina Fillinger then shared “to be able to come to D.C. with this play, and at this time, means a lot to me.” She also noted how Arena’s production will be vastly different from others—it’ll be in the round in our Fichandler Stage! Which will prove to be very exciting, while also creating fun challenges, for director Margot Bordelon and the team of designers.

Director Margot Bordelon described POTUS as, “wicked, and smart, athletic, and exact.” During her speech she talked about the everyday challenge of women trying to succeed by following the patriarchy—and how is that real-life situation not a farce in itself?! “I don’t know any woman who hasn’t engaged in this kind of mental gymnastics. I certainly have. It’s absurd, but also unavoidable in the world that we live in.”

We then heard from Set Designer Reid Thompson about how The White House is a symbol, in real life and in the show. It’s a house, an office, a museum, and much more. Somehow it’s a place of top security and secrets, but it’s super porous, with peepholes in many doors, looking out and in. Fillinger also commented, “The play is so silly there’s no reason the set shouldn’t be silly as well. There’s something very thematic about these people going through the same door expecting to find a different reality on the other side.”

Costume Designer Ivania Stack went through the design for each character, somehow invoking Jackie O, Carl Sagan, Elton John, and a Civil War reenactor—and this only describes three of our seven characters! But don’t worry, there will also be plenty of pantsuits.

In POTUS, women attempt to minimize the damage done by male arrogance and political posturing. It was fabulous to assemble and meet the team who will be creating this homage to those who keep things running behind the scenes.

POTUS will step up to the podium in the Fichandler Stage starting October 13—just in time for off-year election season!) Get your tickets now!