Theatre en Bloc's Jenny Lavery became aware of The Totalitarians shortly after it was first produced a few years ago. And in that short time, the political comedy has already started to feel less farcical.
"I knew that it was timely," she says, "but with current politics as it is, the play has become even more timely. Peter Sinn Nechtrieb wrote a crazy, outlandish farce based on the Obama and Palin election cycle. But now with Trump and Clinton in the mix... it's now becoming more realistic."
For Lavery and the rest of Theatre en Bloc, the months leading up to the 2016 election was the perfect time to stage The Totalitarians. "If this play was going to be produced, I felt like it needed to be produced before this election," Lavery says.
Barbara Chisolm stars as Penny Easter, a wealthy but perhaps unqualified candidate for statewide office in Nebraska. She's charismatic but inconsistent, watchable but possibly dangerous. The play centers around Easter, her speechwriter Francine, and Ben, a young radical who's determined to stop Easter's meteoric rise in Nebraska politics.
Chisolm believes that Easter, if she existed in real life, would gather a strong following. "I lot of people would vote for her," Chisolm says. But would Chisolm support a real world Penny Easter? "Me personally? I hope not!" she says.
Co-star Aaron Johnson (Ben) adds "There's some hesitation, though, because her words are very powerful."
And Lavery? "Maybe if it was the PTA or something," she says, to which Chisolm adds "Because she would GET IT DONE."