‘The Election’ Gives a Modern Play on Politics


Photo by Angelina Logsdon

Actors portraying students speak to candidate Christy Martin. The play was performed Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17.

Erin Bode, News Managing Editor

Students performed Don Zolidis’ political satire “The Election,” Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17, captivating audiences with interactive participation and the timely subject of a school election directly after the 2018 Midterm Elections nationwide.

In “The Election,” students Mark Davenport played by junior Luke Marple, and Christy Martin played by sophomore Mara Andrei Armasaru, compete for the title of student president after a scandal forces out the former president.

Both actors do a fantastic job at performing their respective parts and capturing the emotions and competitiveness of students actually running for office. In the play, Davenport comes across as a genuine teenager who would run for student body president, originally deciding to run in order to make his college applications look better. Martin is his cunning opponent who starts off her campaign with damaging attack ads and a tendency to never actually answer the questions she is asked.

The ads played throughout the play were a highlight, often generating the loudest laughs. The drama department brought a modern twist to this play that was originally published in 1962. The ads also provided a needed break from political references, which could be difficult for some to understand.

“I especially enjoyed the funny ad libs from the ensemble members during the debate scenes…I really felt immersed in the world of the show, like all of us were students at Presley,” Valerie Levy (‘18) said.

As Davenport is tempted to work with a mysterious campaign manager who offers him unlimited funds, he and his opponent continue to battle for votes, eventually both resorting to deceptive methods like suggesting that Martin is actually from France and so less of an American.

When Davenport decides he’s tired of the negative deceiving, he teams up with Martin and they uncover that their campaign manager was working against both of them and coordinating with the news host in order to create a media frenzy over the election.

The twist was unexpected by much of the audience, and the cast had more surprises to come. Davenport’s best friend and former campaign manager ends up running and winning, and even more surprising, there ends up being a chance for a romantic relationship between the two lead roles, Davenport and Martin.

Throughout the play, actors who played students would descend into the auditorium, and sit with audience members, discussing and calling out when they agreed with what candidates were saying. The interactions audience members shared with actors allowed for a richer experience.

“Subtle things like ad-libbing and other small reactions from the cast members in the audience made the debates feel more natural and entertaining, I’d say, and the crowd reactions also fuel the cast’s energy and enthusiasm in turn,” said junior Josie Stahl, who acted as an independent voter and a reporter.

In a time of such political divisiveness, “The Election” presented a lighthearted take on politics, criticising both sides of the political debate and showcasing the continual development of the drama program.   

“As a RHS drama alumna, it was really nice watching instead of participating..seeing all my drama kids step into their own and do an amazing job. Even though my generation is gone, I know drama is in good hands,” Levy said.