Q and A with Rickie Peete

Earlier this year, Washington native and professional actor Rickie Peete decided to write an audition monologue inspired by President Barack Obama’s election to the White House. That turned into Obamanologues, a play running at the Mead Theater Lab (916 G St. NW) through Oct. 11.

The title of your play is quite a mouthful.

At the start of the play we spend about 15 minutes on the pronunciation. That’s a joke. I think, in anything I write, I put a hyphen in it. Obama-nologues. I’ve been saying it a lot, so it’s easy for me.

What inspired you to write Obamanologues?

As an actor and writer, I like writing monologues. And after the inauguration [of President Barack Obama], I had written a monologue about my experience going through it. And it just came to me that I could do it about a whole host of people, because so many people had experiences about him being the candidate. There are a lot of passionate voices in society that yearn to be heard. So I thought it would be good to get other actors involved.

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The biggest thing for me was to show people’s perspective that you may generally not appreciate. If you get the opportunity to hear other people … though you may not agree with them, you’ve got to listen to them because you see the passion in what they are saying.

What kind of research did you do for these monologues?

I talked to people. Again, with this particular election, [there were] stories, video diaries, YouTubes, etc., etc. I took in all of that. And I spoke to a handful of people, but it was more researching the Web and watching interviews, etc., etc. And since, like I said, I am a political animal, I was very involved in the election, in keeping up with it.

You say you’re a political animal. How did you get interested in politics?

I guess for me, politics is the means and methods in which people get things done. So since I am someone who is very invested in my community and country, it’s just a natural thing to be a political animal. I’m not the type of person to sit on the sideline and watch.

Who do you want to see the play?

I’d like everyone — I know that’s wide. I’ve said to other people it’s not a Democratic or Republican play, it’s not a liberal or conservative play. It’s a play that holds a mirror up to America’s face and says, “This is who we are.” I think anyone could come away with something from the play.

What relationship, if any, do you see between politics and the arts?

They’re both theater. They’re both grand theater. They’re both about relaying stories, personal stories. They’re both about communicating an idea or a way of life, a concept.

If you had to make changes to or update the play today, what would you do?

For me that segues into my plans for the future. The way I see it, this play is from late 2005 to the week of the first 100 days. My plan for the future of this play is to have the reality of him being in office. So, more monologues, and my desire — if this becomes a success — to have the notoriety to go out and ask people to send in their own monologues.

Would you ever work in politics?

I’d say yes, it’s possible. It’s nothing that I foresee or plan on. I think a person can be much more effective outside politics … not having to, for lack of a better term, sell their soul to the devil to get things done. My undergrad degree is in government affairs at UVa, so I like politics, but I don’t know if I’d be invested enough to do all it takes to get into politics and stay in politics.

To recommend a political personality for 20 Questions, call Kris Kitto at (202)628-8539 or e-mail him at kittok@thehill.com.