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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Bard Is the New Barack

President Barack Obama might have promised a new bipartisan era in Washington, but with interparty warfare still as ugly as ever, it might be time to look to a new healer: William Shakespeare.

At Monday night’s annual “Will on the Hill” performance at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Members of Congress took to the stage in a play about the power of the Bard’s words to lessen partisan deadlock. The costumes were comically theatric — picture Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) wearing an oversize crown and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) sporting a Brunhilde-esque horned helmet.

The play they performed, “A Midsession Night’s Dream,” told the tale of a fictional Sen. Anonymous (played by California Democrat Rep. Jane Harman, whose husband is a big benefactor of the Shakespeare Theater), who is filibustering a bill on the Senate floor. An ambitious young Senate page, in an effort to break the deadlock, channels the ghost of Shakespeare himself, whose words bring the parties together.

The script was full of broad punchlines on the usual Beltway topics: pundits, corruption and the like.

Some of the best lines were given to Drew Eshelman, the professional actor who played Shakespeare’s ghost. “Nice place for a city that doesn’t get a Congressional vote,” he says of Washington, to big guffaws in the audience.

But one of HOH’s favorites came from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who put in an enthusiastic turn on the boards as a reflexively conservative Sen. Right. “My PDA has a direct line to the Cato Institute,” he declared, as he searched for talking points on a bill.

Can’t get enough HOH? Get a midday dose of fun and gossip with HOH’s One-Minute Recess, delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here — because everyone deserves more recess.

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