MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The sexting scandal of former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has been fodder for comedians, punsters and everyone who love double entendres. The latest example, a new play coming to Off-Off Broadway.

As NPR's Margot Adler reports, it's called "The Weiner Monologues."

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: A couple of years ago, a group of very young actors, most just out of Hunter College, were taking a summer workshop in New York and playing with found tests - you know, items from the newspaper or emails. They were messing around with them and creating scenes when, suddenly, the sexting scandal involving Congressman Anthony Weiner erupted. What a perfect vehicle for playing with these texts, they thought.

JONATHAN HARPER SCHLIEMAN: There is not an original word of ours in there.

ADLER: That's Jonathan Harper Schlieman, one of the co-creators of "The Weiner Monologues." The script includes the messages between Weiner and the women he met online, as well as newspaper articles, jokes by talk show hosts and Weiner's own speeches. There's even an app you can access while you're watching the play to see those pictures he took of himself.

John Oros, who is the other co-creator, says at first...

JOHN OROS: The jokes and the double entendres were just too hard to ignore, which was kind of the first hook for us.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, "THE WEINER MONOLOGUES")

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) And if I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner, everyone would be in love with me.

ADLER: But as they got into reading the transcripts and looking at the texts...

OROS: There was just so many areas of our culture that this scandal touched upon that we thought were worth exploring.

ADLER: And they realized the piece wasn't really about Weiner, which is why, says Schlieman, the actor who plays Weiner doesn't even look or sound like the former congressman. Instead it's about...

SCHLIEMAN: How the media has kind of effected this sense of public and private in an age of Internet and 24-hour news cycles and the Twittersphere and all of this stuff.

ADLER: At first, they didn't have a structure, but then they started thinking about Greek tragedy.

SCHLIEMAN: And there are certainly Greek elements to it, right? I mean, in terms of a man being undone by his own hubris, it's up there with Oedipus, I think. It's a little bit funnier, hopefully. We also employ a sort of Greek chorus.

ADLER: The chorus represents both the media and public.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, "THE WEINER MONOLOGUES")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I know every photo I have on my computer and he should know every photo he has on his computer.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: He should know every photo he has on his computer.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: As a congressman, he should know better.

ADLER: The chorus leader is Marilyn Monroe, who functions as a kind of symbol of sex scandals and celebrity. This section is taken from a New York Times' article which interviewed people in Weiner's district.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, "THE WEINER MONOLOGUES")

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: I would think everybody knows their undergarments. It would be weird if he didn't know. He doesn't know. As a Congressman, he should know better.

ADLER: Of course, in any Greek tragedy, there's the pride that leads to a fall. And while we can laugh at a man who called himself Carlos Danger and fell from being one of the darlings of New York's progressives to coming in a distant fifth in the mayoral primary, there's a poignancy when the actor who plays Weiner resigns.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, "THE WEINER MONOLOGUES")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as Anthony Weiner) Today, I'm announcing my resignation from Congress, so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative, and most importantly, so that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused.

ADLER: But I ask John Harper Schlieman, why should we care?

SCHLIEMAN: It's because it's a story we can tell each other, right? It's the same thing as a bunch of shepherds gathering around by a fire to share a story. It's almost mythological. He's a larger-than-life character. All of our friends have been seeing Anthony Weiner in the street and I get five text messages a day, saying, oh, he's here at Barnes and Noble with this kid. Oh, I saw him going for a jog in the park. He's a celebrity. In our culture of celebrity worship, that makes him a god.

ADLER: So maybe it's not exactly like Zeus having his way with all those nymphs and goddesses, but a story of real lives that rise and fall in a virtual world. The 90-minute play will be performed at the Access Theatre from November 6th through November 10th. Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

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