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Watch Trailer for “Inherit the Windbag”

In March 2020, just as the lockdown started in DC, the world premiere of Mosaic’s play Inherit the Windbag was forced to go dark with many in the audience wondering its fate.

Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri wrote the play, a pitched battle of bloviating wits that revisits the televised Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968 and the blistering nightly free-for-all between conservative pundit William F. Buckley and liberal author Gore Vidal.

It is a no-holds-barred sesquipedalian brawl about another time when American politics was spinning toward entropy. Norman Mailer, Ayn Rand, James Baldwin, and Truman Capote back to shine bright light on these preening wordsmiths, wounded warriors on the battlefield of extreme partisanship.

The play didn’t make it to the Mosaic stage, but the show did go on. In August 2020, after a 5 month hiatus, virtual rehearsals began for a full-length video adaptation of the play featuring the original stage cast of Paul Morella as Gore Vidal, John Lescault as William F. Buckley and Tamieka Chavis and Stephen Kime as Demons from the 1968 Republican Convention.

This socially distant exploration in Zoom filmmaking required the coordinated delivery of sanitized cameras, green screens, microphones, costumes and props to actors’ homes across the greater DC area. Once set up, Zoom rehearsals began with Lee Mikeska Gardner directing from her home in Boston while Alexandra Petri continued working on the script from DC.

Over 40 hours of video recording were captured and cut down into this short sizzle reel featuring enhanced visual and sound effects work by Dylan Uremovich and David Bryan Jackson which turned green screens into television production sets, a yacht cast to sea and hell itself: the Richard Nixon library.

Mosiac said that they hope this taste of Inherit the Windbag will help bring cheer during this altered Thanksgiving season. “Mosaic gives thanks to YOU, our fantastic community, for being the driving force behind this project and so many more, coming to fruition,” they added. “We are ever grateful to you, and thrilled to share this work.”

Learn more about Mosaic Theatre and Inherit the Windbag by visiting mosaictheater.org

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