Goessel students to perform satire

Play to incorporate prerecorded campaign ads

Staff writer

Goessel students will perform a political satire written by Don Zolidist called “The Election” at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 at the USD 411’s high school auditorium.

In addition to the live performance, the two-act play will include sets painted by Fern Bartel and campaign videos that the cast and crew recorded on campus as well as out in the community.

“It takes place at Presley High,” technical director Andrew Voth said. “During a student election, two candidates get swept up in big corporate money and the darker side of politics and hilarity ensues.”

Voth said the play is about 80 minutes long and its cast has been working very hard. All seem to enjoy the script and some are even starting to get the pre-performance jitters.

“We have 29 kids participating in the play, which is about a third of the entire high school here in Goessel,” director Travis Duerksen said. “Some kids have a lot of lines, what with all quick banter and debates this performance has.”

This is the first year that Duerksen, Voth, and assistant director Donna O’Neill have been involved with a school play. However, Duerksen said he has a done a lot of theater work in the past including both writing and directing plays.

“The Election” is a modern comedy that involves all the hype that surrounds a political campaign by employing reporters and cable television, he said.

There are points in the play when cast members break the “4th wall” and talk directly to audience as if the audience were the TV.

“We also filmed campaign videos around town and in the community that will be shown during the play,” Duerksen said. “Some are ads that build up each candidate and others are slanderous that try to tear the other down.”

The story is told through the eyes of candidate Mark Davenport, played by senior Mark Schmidt who played the scarecrow in Goessel’s rendition of “The Wizard of Oz” last year.

“At the beginning of the play my character decides to enter the race because he thinks he is the only one who will be running,” Schmidt said. “He doesn’t know much about politics. He is just your average guy.”

Schmidt said when his character learns that a “nerdy” opponent, Khristy Martin, played by Gentry Thiesen, has entered the race against him he is not worried because he thinks no one will vote for her.

“But he finds out the race is not going to be as easy as he thought when he sees an ad for Martin on TV,” Schmidt said. “She begins steam-rolling my character in the debate because she has a lot money and fluff backing her.”

Eventually Schmidt’s character becomes tempted to buy another character to use the similar tactics against Martin.

For more information or to reserve a seat, call the Goessel High School office at (620) 367-2242. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.

 

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