But the writers of the play, whose cast includes members of Congress and other notables, kept the political humor light, with few dings at the commander in chief and more at the usual Washington punchline targets including interns, the Metro, tourists and Twitter. The plot was slight: Washington denizens were attempting to flee the city’s oppressive summer heat, and road shutdowns had forced them to wander through a suburban forest where they encountered characters from the Bard’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Ian Kahn, who portrays George Washington on AMC’s spy series “Turn,” played fairy-king Oberon, and Maulik Pancholy, who played Alec Baldwin’s assistant on NBC’s “30 Rock,” was his “chief of staff” sprite, Puck.
By turn, the Official Washingtonians-turned-actors fretted their few minutes on the stage, a troupe that included Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, British Ambassador Kim Darroch, Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-D. C.) and a raft of House members, the Hill Publisher Johanna Derlega and Editor in Chief Bob Cusack, The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons, ABC Political Director Rick Klein, and GOP consultant John Feehery.
In one of the more pointed Trump-focused jokes, Kahn, after uttering a particularly eloquent passage, took a moment to boast: “I have the best words.”
And it was Pancholy who uttered the Shakespearean line that best summed up the absurdity of the mood in Washington these days. “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”
But the audience wasn’t there for the laughs, or for fine theater, exactly. More to the point? The event raised $510,000 for the theater’s education and community-outreach programs.