The Batavia High School Drama Club will present its newest play tonight called "45 Plays for 45 Presidents."
It starts at 7 p.m. and will also be performed Saturday at that time. There's a matinee Sunday at 2 o'clock.
According to Caryn Leigh Wood, musical and drama director, BHS swapped show time slots this academic year and held its musical in the fall, so the play that used to be in December is now in March.
"Basically the play is exactly how it sounds; one scene for each of our 45 presidents," Wood says. "It is considered experimental, historical, comedy and has some really interesting content."
A total of 25 students in grades 9-12 are in the production. The show was originally written for just five people, but the authors allow for expanding it.
"With over 150 roles in the show, it was quite a challenge to the cast," Wood said. "Every cast member has multiple roles, so the group dynamic is really important to the overall flow of the show. The student must really work hard to weave each of the scenes together, making it truly an ensemble piece. There isn't one single lead role."
The play does not attempt to merely impersonate each of the 45 presidents; it's not written so that the actors are trying to mimic them, according to Wood.
Rather, the president in each scene is represented through the symbol of the "presidential coat" that is passed from one scene to the next. There are some points in the show that the coat is not even worn by a person, but handled in such a way as to symbolize the president in that scene.
Wood sums the production up this way:
"The cast has had a crazy and fun time learning this show; as you can imagine, because there is a TON of difficult content to cover. Our nation's history isn't all sparkles and fairytales and the authors don't try to gloss over that in any way. That's why the show is so dynamic and constantly changing; there are points where you can be in a serious and poignant scene, and then the next moment, you are in the middle of a comedy roast or silly game show.
"The juxtaposition and contrast can really leave you with a sense of whiplash at times. But isn't that somewhat true of our nation's history, too? Overall, this show isn't trying to make any one specific political statement, it all comes full circle again to the state that whatever your political convictions may be, a person's real power is in their vote....the final point made in the show is that our next presidential election is just over 240 days away."
"45 Plays for 45 Presidents" is performed in the black box format, the same format as in the past. Seating is limited.
Be advised the play is not intended for children under age 13.
The play is offered through special arrangment with Playscripts Inc. It was written by Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Ken Weinberg.
Tickets in advance are $9 and available here. At the door, they are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.
The school is located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.