Confidence (and The Speech)

Confidence (and The Speech) is a not-exactly-true perspective of a very true story. Yeah, it's that President Carter play where Carter is played by a woman and it seems like it's about a moment in history, but it's really about everything that is happening now.

On July 4, 1979, President Carter canceled an important energy policy speech he was scheduled to give the next day and...
Confidence (and The Speech) is a not-exactly-true perspective of a very true story. Yeah, it's that President Carter play where Carter is played by a woman and it seems like it's about a moment in history, but it's really about everything that is happening now.

On July 4, 1979, President Carter canceled an important energy policy speech he was scheduled to give the next day and disappeared to Camp David. Ten days later, he emerged from his impromptu domestic summit and gave a new speech, the Crisis of Confidence speech, which became known as the “malaise” speech. The speech garnered overwhelmingly positive responses at first and many now view the speech as unprecedented and insightful. Others think it may have ultimately cost him the White House.

Forty years later, college professor Cynthia Cooper is approached by a stranger, a young man, and asked to recall her time with the Carter Administration during the days before the now-infamous Crisis of Confidence speech. If she is going to tell her story of that time - the story told from her perspective - she is going to play the President. And the young man who wants to know her story? Well, he is going to play her. This unique cross-gender play explores the confidence of a president, a nation in chaos and women in politics.



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Confidence (and The Speech)

Recommended by

  • Rachel Bublitz:
    8 Feb. 2018
    For me a good history play does two things, it focuses on action instead of only teaching the audience, and the event(s) depicted say something about the present time. Susan Lambert Hatem does both in "Confidence (and the Speech)" which never becomes merely a history lesson. It also offers a bit of hope in a time when hope is hard to come by. I think this play would do particularly well in college productions.

Character Information

  • PROFESSOR CYNTHIA COOPER
    60,
    Any
    ,
    Female
    Professor of History, Baynard University. Accomplished professor and historian. A little beaten down. Sharp wit. Insightful. Also plays PRESIDENT CARTER, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Charismatic and intelligent. Southern. A full partner to his wife.
  • JONATHAN ROLLINS
    21, Array,
    Male
    Recent UT graduate. An ambitious young man, with a sincere streak and a curious nature. Also plays YOUNG CYNTHIA COOPER, a passionate, but shy White House intern.
  • ROSALYNN CARTER
    52,
    White
    ,
    Female
    First Lady from Plains. The President’s closest advisor and champion of women’s rights, human rights and mental health awareness. A full partner to her husband.
  • SARAH WEDDINGTON
    34, Array,
    Female
    Assistant to the President. Lawyer who argued Roe V Wade. Efficient. Confident. Good sense of humor. Also plays MELISSA, an eager student.
  • VICE-PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE
    51,
    White
    ,
    Male
    A good guy. True confidant to the President. Also is REPORTER, off-stage voice.
  • PAT CADDELL
    29,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Carter’s pollster. Young and super ambitious. Likes to be right. Disheveled and sloppy. Sets his watch 15 minutes ahead and is still late. Also plays TODD, a charming student.
  • HENDRICK HERTZBERG
    35, Array,
    Male
    Speech writer. A New Yorker.
  • HAMILTON JORDAN
    34,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Key advisor to the President and political strategist, GA Mafia. Funny and clever. Committed to Jimmy Carter and to doing a good job.
  • JODY POWELL
    36,
    White
    ,
    Male
    White House Press Secretary, Part of Carter’s “Georgia Mafia.” Charming. Cool and not cool. Mooches cigarettes. Also plays GOVERNOR (off-stage voice).

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Boston Court
    ,
    2019
  • Reading
    ,
    Charlotte's Off-Broadway
    ,
    2018
  • Workshop
    ,
    Charlotte's Off-Broadway
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    Boston Court
    ,
    2017
  • Reading
    ,
    Son of Semele Theatre
    ,
    2017

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    Lion Theatre at Theatre Row
    ,
    2020
  • Workshop
    ,
    Charlotte's Off-Broadway
    ,
    2018

Awards

Second Rounder for Austin Film Festival Playwriting Competition
,
Austin Film Festival
,
2017