POTUS or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying To Keep Him Alive

POTUS – OR BEHIND EVERY GREAT DUMBASS ARE SEVEN WOMEN TRYING TO KEEP HIM ALIVE – Written by Selina Fillinger; Directed by Kate Gleason.  Produced by Thunder River Theatre Company (67 Promenade, Carbondale) through June 30.  Tickets available at 970-963-8200 or thunderrivertheatre.com.  

It’s not often you find yourself laughing out loud just reading a script. But such was the case when I read this hysterical new play last year. I couldn’t wait for someone to get the rights to do it and knew I would drive anywhere in the state to see it. The first Colorado performance is now taking place in the wonderful little Thunder River Theatre in Carbondale, ten miles south of Glenwood Springs. So, yes, I did hie myself up the mountain one Sunday afternoon to partake of this stunningly funny 95% riotous comedy/5% message. 


You understand by the title that this is basically a scenario about the women who are behind the President of the United States. Not necessarily the current president or the immediate past president – but an amalgamation of perhaps the last seven or so presidents. No political affiliation is mentioned; no first names of staff members or wives are similar to people living or dead with the same jobs; no animals were harmed in the making of this performance. It is bold, profane, raunchy, not suitable for children, and includes discussions of various sex acts with cold, clinical reasoning. You’ll love it!!  

The seven women trying to keep POTUS alive politically because of his careless thoughtless disrespectful comments about women in front of a delegation are in order of importance: His chief of staff (China Kwan); His press secretary (Jenna Moll Reyes); His secretary (Missy Moore); His mistress (Sonya Meyer); His sister (Toddy Walters); A journalist who covers the White House (Jasmine Jackson); and his wife (Janae Burris). The timeline encompasses one frantic day from a breakfast meeting with the delegation from Bahrain through the day of frantic covering up finally to an evening reception for the FML (don’t ask!). The setting is an anteroom outside the President’s office.  

Their collective efforts to keep the President’s verbal faux pas and dubious health issues under cover start out slightly shocking and go downhill from there. This is a true ensemble performance, in spite of the fact that logically there should have been rabid competition between some of the members of the group. Both a girlfriend and a wife working together to literally save their man’s ass?? Would that happen? A journalist looking for a leak and the press secretary trying to stop a leak?? Where’s the common ground there? But it all makes some sort of crazy logic when you see it played out.   

Each and every woman brought her A game and her best work to the stage. China as the tough as nails chief of staff with the “everything’s under control” mantra sports a mannish haircut in an effort to fit into the male dominated world in which she has chosen to work. Her on-the-spot solutions would probably succeed if she could control the actions of everyone else. Too many of them are a little beyond control. Jenna as the Press Secretary never forgets what the last thing that happened is going to look like to the world outside . . . . should it get that far. And does the best she can to make sure it doesn’t, including lying through her teeth. Jasmine the journalist has fought hard to win her seat in the Briefing Room, and I’ll be darned if she’s going to let some upstart male rookie shove her aside just because she’s a new Mom and needs to constantly pump her milk for her unseen baby.   

The surprise arrival of Sonya playing the President’s latest dalliance with her cheerleader looks and blue lips (from sipping on blue slushies) creates a whole new level of chaos to the proceedings. Yet she’s usually the most pragmatic and level-headed one of the bunch. Then we have Janae, the President’s wife with her oversized clogs and power suit, protecting her image and trying to keep her cool. Toddy as the President’s sister has just been given a pardon (kind of) by her brother and gotten out of prison. She was there for selling drugs and resumes her old business as soon as she hits the door of the White House. Her description of a bottle of hallucinogenic pills as only Tums leads to one of the funniest bits of the whole she-bang. (see what I did there?)  

Missy Moore, in a showstopping role as the President’s secretary, starts the fun early on with her power stances and determination to be the BEST secretary she can be by protecting the door of the Oval Office. But we also see her insecure side when she misinterprets some information leading her to think she is about to be fired. Then she accidentally ingests some of the Sister’s “Tums” and turns into a raving loose cannon while slowly disrobing and wandering around with blood on her hands. This is a master class in comic timing and wide-eyed wonder as only Missy can perform it.  

No slamming doors in this farcical jaunt, but, once it gets rolling, this becomes a frenetic energetic rollicking descent into chaos. But when the dust finally begins to clear and the endgame is in sight, we discover that this group really has rallied around the dumbass they are trying to keep alive. The woman power and herd mentality triumphs once again as they end this day and get ready for the next. 

Now look, I know that Carbondale is a nice three-hour trip up into the mountains. Would you drive that far to see a show? Maybe not. But maybe you have a trip to the mountains planned during the next couple of weeks as part of your weekend summer activities. Carbondale is just minutes outside Glenwood Springs if you are going up for a soak in the pools or a leisurely drive through the canyon. If so, I want to call your attention to this hilarious production and encourage you to check out what will probably be a new theatre for most Denverites. It is worth the drive.  

A WOW factor of 9.5!! 

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