For decades, Steppenwolf has been synonymous with muscular, athletic and gritty performances. Perhaps unconsciously, these words are often coded as male or masculine.
Well, on the first day of rehearsal for POTUS, 26 female and femme artists gathered around the table to start the work of bringing this muscular, athletic, and gritty farce to life. What a gift to stage this play with this entirely femme team against the backdrop of a world that seems to grow more toxic - and hostile to women - by the hour.
At Steppenwolf, we invest in plays that challenge both our artists and audiences. Stories that challenge our actors, designers, and production teams to create with rigor, integrity, courage and compassion. Stories that challenge our audiences to be in conversation with their beliefs, and to perhaps discover pieces of themselves they didn’t know existed. We strive for our storytelling to be laced with power and passion.
Okay, yes, that, and... Sometimes, we also just want a good laugh.
Luckily (and incredibly), Selina Fillinger’s POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive is a play that manages to do both. Here we have a script that provides immense challenges to the performer, while also challenging an audience to join the ride and pick up the pieces of a day that takes a sharp turn for the worse.
Selina has drawn an intricate farce that focuses on the female support staff in the shadow of a presidency gone awry. But if you zoom out, POTUS transcends national politics; it sets its aim squarely on patriarchy and on gender politics as a whole. We see a group of women who have decided to invest in a man who they once believed could do great things. And now these women, brilliant and accomplished, are confronted with the reality that the system they have dedicated their lives to change has once again betrayed them.
We hope you have as much fun experiencing this show as we had creating it. Laughter is serious business here and we’re so happy you’ve come along for the experience.
Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis