Judith Hawking as Penny at Southern Rep, Photo by John Barrois
"Think this past election was brutal? The campaign trail gets considerably nastier - and a whole lot funnier - in Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's oh-so-dark political satire "The Totalitarians."...Nachtrieb's mastery of plentiful, surefire, unexpected punch lines and circuitous plot twists is on full display. Rob Hurwitt, SF Chronicle
"Riotous political comedy" - Richard Dodds, Bay Area Reporter
"Hilarious and painful and horrifying in the way it so effortlessly conjures a sham democracy populated by tricksters and schemers, murderers and mental incompetents." - Chad Jones, Theatre Dogs
"Brutal, brilliant, and hilariously horrific " - My Cultural Landscape
"Nachtrieb's story of ambition run amok, scruples gleefully discarded, and desperate sexual desire is the funniest original script I have seen in this city in ages." - The Advocate
"-achieves a degree of timelessness in that he takes on not a single party or politician, but the entire political establishment. And he does it with a bite that raises the comedy to a cross between "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Dr. Strangelove."" - Times Picayune/Nola.com
"One of the most intensely insane pieces of comic writing to take the stage in a very long time." DC Metro Theatre Arts
"These four separate power struggles come to a head in the surprisingly action-packed finale, which features even grander sets, costumes, and stakes. In sheer manic giddiness, the play abruptly departs from an otherwise almost-believable tale of lust for power in Nebraska. But perhaps The Totalitarians seems to exceed belief only because it's premiering on a non-election year. Will the play feel more believable in hindsight by 2016? You betcha." DCist
"Nachtrieb's got a first class instinct for satire and human weakness and he’s pretty good with a dick joke to boot. It has been a while since I laughed so hard and so often as I did at Woolly's great, delightfully obscene production of this National New Play Network rolling premiere...I was equal parts thrilled and disgusted. Mostly thrilled." DC Theatre Scene
"Sharp, briskly paced, and very funny." The Washingtonian
"a deeply funny and scathing take on 21st century American politics and culture." - Metro Weekly
I want to address one of the biggest questions of the campaign so far. Who is Penelope Easter? Me. Who am I? What is she/I about? Is/Am she/I the one who will do what I/you want?
Some of you have no idea.
You might not have followed my success in the professional roller skating circuit, been affected by my charity work, or you might not have heard a hoot about all the fit safe and fertile things we've been doing in Hay Springs.
You might know what they want you to know about me. That sometimes I put my "foot in my mouth." Sometimes I "swear in public" when there are children and clergy present. And I have a husband who "likes special things."
I'm not going to bestow any dignity to my elitist attackers by addressing their vicious teapot gossip. But I do want to address you, the people of Nebraska, the voters with a choice who are probing their hearts to decide if I am the right candidate to dimple their chad for.
To answer your question I must ask my own:
Who are you?
We might be on the brink of revolution in Nebraska. Penny, a compulsive and compulsively-watchable candidate for state office enlists the help of Francine, a silver-tongued operative. Francine's husband Jeffrey, a doctor, is lying to his dying patients - one of whom opens his eyes to Penny’s nefarious plans for the Cornhusker State. The Totalitarians is a raucous dark comedy about the state of modern political discourse, modern relationships and how easy it is to believe truths without facts.
Commissioned by NNPN through the Full Stage/USA Program at New Dramatists with a lead grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
2014 NNPN Rolling World Premiere Productions:
Southern Rep, New Orleans, LA directed by Ken Prestininzi
Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington, DC directed by Robert Ohara
Z Space, San Francisco CA directed by Ken Prestininzi
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