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Will on the Hill’s Midsummer Madness Brings Down the House

All of Washington’s problems were solved at Will on the Hill .  

The annual dramatic mashup of Shakespeare, #ThisTown, members of Congress, professional actors and journalists opened Monday evening with West Springfield High School’s Text Alive participants performing Act 1, Scene 2 of “As You Like It,” with a little help from disco balls, slow-motion acting and ’80s music.  

Then it was time for “Midsummer Madness.” Edward Gero played the head of lobbying firm Stratford, Avon and Bard. Fresh off the stage as Justice Antonin Scalia in “The Originalist” he opened with the promise, “I’m not here to judge.” Joining Gero were a man and a woman competing for an internship, played by professional actors Brandon Uranowitz and Samira Wiley.  

Wiley’s entrance was greeted with raucous cheers, and toward the end of the show her character went beyond a traditional Shakespearean aside to break the fourth wall, declaring her favorite “Orange is the New Black” character is Poussey Washington (Wiley’s character on the Netflix show).  

Playwright Peter Byrne seemed to tailor members’ roles to their biography or reputations.  

The first issue the two interns had to try to resolve was the Keystone XL project. The bickering led to the entrance of the Shrew, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who lived up to Byrne’s promise that she knows how to deliver a joke. When Rep. Elise Stefanik’s Juliet took the stage, Wiley’s character told her intern orientation was upstairs. The New York Republican is 28 years old.  

Problems were presented, and solutions were dished out. News sites with different political tilts found common ground. Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., declared the need to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Rep. Dina Titus’ Beatrice of Messina was declared so stubborn, “FIFA officials couldn’t bribe her,” a sentiment her fellow Nevada Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, might agree with.  

Capitol Hill’s big issues were paraded forth and laughed over, all for a good cause, with the event raising approximately half a million dollars for the Shakespeare Theater Company’s educational programs.  

The show ended with the two interns agreeing neither would take the job, but instead open their own firm dedicated to finding common ground. It was believable until then.