"44 Plays for 44 Presidents"

An irreverent and entertaining look at the U.S. Presidents -- all 44 of them on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm. Read the full text of one of the plays from 44 Plays for 44 Presidents.

Rani Waterman, Bilal Dardai, Dina Walters, Joe Dempsey, Ryan Walters, Rawson Vint. Photos by Maggie Fullilove-Nugent, Photo editing by Jessica Mondres39. Jimmy Who?

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(JIMMY CARTER stands at a door labeled CONGRESS. He knocks. No answer. He keeps knocking.)

CARTER. Hello? It’s me. Jimmy Carter.

CONGRESS. (Speaking from behind the closed door:) Jimmy Who?

CARTER. Jimmy Carter. I’m the new president. Of the United States. Of America.

(There is no answer. He walks over to a podium and addresses the audience.)

CARTER. I would like to talk to you about some important issues. First of all, I want a competent and compassionate government.


CARTER. I want to overhaul the civil-service system, making it easier to fire incompetents; I want to create new departments of education and energy; deregulate airlines to stimulate competition and lower fares.


Bilal Dardai, Ryan Walters, Rani Waterman, Joe Dempsey, Dina Walters, Rawson Vint. Photos by Maggie Fullilove-Nugent, Photo editing by Jessica Mondres

I want to make environmental efforts like preserving vast wilderness areas of Alaska. My national health-insurance bill… Alternate energy sources to foreign oil…solar, nuclear, geothermal? Peace between Israel and Egypt. SALT II?

(Knocks on door again.)

CARTER. Hey… aren’t there any Democrats in there?

(A DEMOCRAT gets pushed forward to answer. The DEMOCRAT fights her way back, shaking her head no and shushing the others.)

CARTER. I’m gonna get those hostages free. Hello? I am.

(CARTER takes off coat and hangs it up. A crowd of LADIES swarms around him.)

LADY 1. Mr. Carter. Could you tell us about the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta?

CARTER. It’s devoted to issues relating to democracy and human rights.

LADY 2. What about Habitat for Humanity?Rani Waterman, Bilal Dardai, Joe Dempsey, Ryan Walters, Dina Walters, Rawson Vint. Photos by Maggie Fullilove-Nugent, Photo editing by Jessica Mondres

CARTER. We are helping the homeless—

LADY 1. Please accept this Nobel Prize for Peace.

CARTER. Thank you.

LADY 3. Mr. Carter? Can you please sign my book of poetry?

CARTER. Sure…you know, I also have a book of historical fiction that’s out now.

(All the LADIES sigh and/or titter.)

LADY 1. Mr. Carter, please help us with the Middle East.

LADY 2. And North Korea.

LADY 3. And Libya.

LADY 1. And…

CARTER. I’ll help you all. In my heart, I already have.

(Crowd of LADIES cheers as CARTER grins.)

(Start transition. Music plays. Change slide. Podium moved SR.

ACTOR 4 puts on the coat. Props: paper and pen, rifle. End transition.)


The play opens Saturday, October 6, with performances continuing through November 10. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students/seniors with ID. All performances take place at The Neo-Futurarium.

Back in 2004, Chicago Tonight visited the Neo-Futurarium and got an inside tour of the lobby’s Hall of Presidents. Watch the clip in the following web extra video.




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