Iowa Central is hosting a fall production of The Election, a comedy by Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Don Zolidis and produced with special arrangement by Playscripts, Inc. The play takes a student body president’s campaign, and brings it to the stage of contemporary politics, featuring ensemble scenes and dance numbers. With opening nights on October 12, 13, and 14 at 7:00 p.m., tickets are available at the Iowa Central Bookstore. Adult tickets cost $8 and child tickets are $5. Iowa Central students must bring their student ID to get in for free. Directed by Teresa Jackson, the play is sure to take a fun, lighthearted approach to politics that will make any audience member smile.
The play focuses on two candidates, Mark Davenport and Christy Martin. At the start of the play, Mark seems to have an easy win; Christy wants to eliminate football and implement organic food into the cafeteria. Soon, things take a turn for the worse for Mark; Christy suddenly has tremendous funding and support to help market her campaign. Mark very quickly becomes the unfavorable candidate, and as Christy continues to remove all chances of Mark’s victory, Mark is given the decision to receive the aid of a professional campaign manager. The play mirrors modern political patterns without exhibiting bias towards any political views or parties.
Speaking to Teresa Jackson, we discussed what there was to look forward to in the final weeks of the play, how practices were developing, and what this production might mean for the audience. She admitted, “I’m actually sad because I know that it’s almost over. I am excited for the last week of practice because the energy is there.” When talking about the typical practice, Jackson explained, “We work hard. My students from Intro to Theater come and observe, and they have no idea the intensity that is involved or how precise things have to be, so they’re surprised by that.” Finally, we touched on what the audience might enjoy in the play and what she would like for them to take from the show. “The show ends with a kind of nice hopefulness to it. Democracy has always been divisive, but we’re going to be okay. I want them (the audience) to leave more hopeful and happy. I hope they leave feeling the love.”
I also spoke to student actors Morgan Pratkelis, the sophomore portraying Christy Martin, and Nathan Bentz, the freshman playing the role of Mark Davenport. Nathan Bentz and I spoke about his upcoming major role in his first college production, discussing his character. “When I first pictured Mark, he seemed kind of clueless to me. His personality is a little more subtle than mine.” When it comes to practice, Bentz had this to say about Teresa Jackson’s directing, “I like the detail of Teresa’s directing. Every little movement… if you don’t take a step right, it’s corrected. Every detail. I’m a detail-oriented guy, so I really like that.” Morgan Pratkelis and I spoke about why students should come to see the play. She spoke, “It’s nice to forget about all the things that are going on with the country right now and everybody being on the complete opposite sides of the spectrum politically. Here, we kind of touch on that, but we tell a different story, and this one has a happy ending.” Speaking about her cast-mates, Pratkelis told, “I really like working with the other students and seeing what everyone brings to the table. Like when Mark adds a little nod and it’s perfect; you can tell that’s exactly what the character would do.”
The Election is a production for a wide general audience. Directed by Teresa Jackson and starring Morgan Pratkelis and Nathan Bentz, the play will be sure to please audience members regardless of political alignment.