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August 22, 2016

Elections and Politics: 10 Plays Fit for this Season


A democratic society relies on the right of citizens to participate in the election cycle ritual. When carried out effectively, elections give civilians the invaluable opportunity to choose their representation and give their input on important political matters…but haven’t you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes?

We’ve picked 10 titles that center around the political mayhem of American civilization, from overzealous politicians to scandal and controversy. And watch out, because some of these titles may hit a little too close to home.

Election Day by Josh Tobiessen
It’s Election Day, and Adam knows his over-zealous girlfriend will never forgive him if he fails to vote. But when his sex starved sister, an eco-terrorist, and a mayoral candidate willing to do anything for a vote all show up, Adam finds that making that quick trip to the polls might be harder than he thought. Election Day is a hilarious dark comedy about the price of political (and personal) campaigns. 3m, 2f

The City of Conversation by Anthony Giardina
In this play spanning 30 years and six presidential administrations, Hester Ferris throws Georgetown dinner parties that can change the course of Washington’s politics. But when her beloved son suddenly turns up with an ambitious Reaganite girlfriend and a shocking new conservative world view, Hester must choose between preserving her family and defending the causes she’s spent her whole life fighting for. 4m, 4f, 1boy(s)

Red Hot Patriot by Margaret Engel, Allison Engel
The story of the unsinkable Molly Ivins, the famously brassy newspaper columnist and best-selling author. A true Texas original, Ivins was a sharp-tongued wit who skewered the political establishment and the “good ol’ boys” with her unforgettable humor and wisdom. Written by twin sisters, themselves longtime journalists, the play celebrates Ivins’ courage and tenacity – even when a complacent America wasn’t listening. 1f

Betrayed by George Packer
This play follows two Iraqi translators as they discuss their lives being stuck between a country that feels they’ve betrayed them and another that doesn’t care. Millions of Iraqis, spanning the country’s religious and ethnic spectrum, welcomed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and some wanted their perspective to be valuable to foreigners who knew little or nothing of Iraq. But instead of respect and gratitude, those who chose to help bridge the gap between the occupiers and the occupied were met with suspicion and hostility. They have been killed by insurgents and militias, ignored by U.S. officials, fired from their jobs without reason or recourse, and prevented from fleeing to the States for safety. 5m, 1f

Floodgate by Larry Gelbart
This political satire features highlights of a faux congressional committee’s investigation to determine responsibility for the equally faux, farcically disastrous events that recently swamped and overwhelmed the nation’s capital. The chief casualty of the hearings: the destruction of what little is left of the English language. 11m, 3f

Cornelia by Mark V. Olsen
From the co-creator of the hit HBO series ‘Big Love’ comes an epic slice of history centering on 1970s Alabama politics. Beautiful, divorced beauty queen Cornelia Folsom is a force of nature who works her way into the heart of Governor George Wallace. Together they plan to take over the state and then the White House until an assassination attempt halts his presidential campaign. But no obstacle is too great for Cornelia to overcome, as she secretly harbors her own political ambitions amidst a hostile campaign staff, her rarely sober mother, and Southern shenanigans in this sweeping, provocative tale of sex, power, and bare-knuckled American politics. 2m, 3f

Abrogate by Larry Gelbart
This political comedy examines the long-term consequences of the Bush-era White House through an imaginary hearing investigating the abrogation of human rights under the Bush regime. Hillary Clinton is now president and, in an attempt to sift through the debris of the post-Bush regime, holds a congressional meeting to explore how the atrocities during the previous administration could have possibly happened. As the hearing progresses, some shocking truths about the infamous conservative leaders are revealed. 6m, 3f

The God Game by Suzanne Bradbeer
Tom is a Virginia Senator and rising star in the Republican Party. When a long-time family friend resurfaces and offers the opportunity of a lifetime, Tom faces a crisis of conviction while his marriage hangs precariously in the balance. The God Game is a play about faith and politics, marriage and friendship, choices and consequences. 2m, 1f

November by David Mamet
This Oval Office satire depicts one day in the life of a beleaguered American commander-in-chief. It’s November in a Presidential election year, and incumbent Charles Smith’s chances for reelection are looking grim. Approval ratings are down, his money’s running out, and nuclear war might be imminent. Though his staff has thrown in the towel and his wife has begun to prepare for her post-White House life, Chuck isn’t ready to give up just yet. Amidst the biggest fight of his political career, the President has to find time to pardon a couple of turkeys — saving them from the slaughter before Thanksgiving — and this simple PR event inspires Smith to risk it all in attempt to win back public support. 4m, 1f

Abe by Roger Anderson, Lee Goldsmith
A new musical about the early life of Abraham Lincoln. The show explores his youth as a flatboat pilot on the Mississippi, his early love for Ann Rutledge, his troubled marriage to the difficult and mentally fragile Mary Todd, and his attempt to be a good father to his sons. The story follows Abe from his earliest attempts at self-improvement through the 1860 election which made him the 16th president of an already fracturing United States. 16m, 9f

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also recognize the following political title:

Just Say No by Larry Kramer
The scandals of the Reagan administration are dramatized in farcical style. The First Lady must locate, before it is too late, a home-made sex videotape on which she cavorts with the husband of her best friend, with his mistress who knows much too much, and with members of her husband’s cabinet. In addition, her son decides to run away to become a ballet dancer and, along the way, falls in love with the ex-boyfriend in hiding of the angry mayor of the largest northeastern city. Everyone meets, or tries not to, in the Georgetown home of Foppy Schwartz, friend to the rich and powerful, where first ladies and mayors drop in and refuse to leave. Just Say No is a hysterically funny satire that has a great deal to say about the state of our union. 3m, 5f