Published on November 19th, 2012 | by Anthony Lyen0
An Evening With The Presidents
Anythony Lyen, Tempo Editor
Photo above by Adam Smetana: The cast of “44 Plays for 44 Presidents” re-enacts President Grover Cleveland’s veto spree.
On Oct. 16, 1984, President Ronald Reagan received an honorary doctorate from Lewis University.
From Nov. 9-11 and 15-18, however, Reagan, along with 43 of America’s other commanders-in-chief, returned to Lewis for the Philip Lynch Theatre’s production of “44 Plays for 44 Presidents.”
The show acted as a historical timeline, chronicling the lives and terms of all 44 presidents. While each segment was brief, each president’s snippet showed some sort of success or obstacle. Some moments made the audience laugh, while some moments were quite tragic.
“44 Plays for 44 Presidents” was an ensemble show where each actor in the production portrayed multiple characters. Senior Matthew Dutton was one of the actors portraying some of the United States’ many presidents.
“Each person in the cast plays many roles that range from being a specific president to someone involved with that president or even just a narrator on that president’s life,” said Dutton, who is a criminal social justice major with a minor in theology. “Some of the presidents I play include Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and Bill Clinton, but there are many others.”
Since the 2012 presidential election just recently concluded with the re-election of President Barack Obama, junior Adam Smetana knows the timing for this play couldn’t have been better.
“Many people came to the show either happy or upset with the election outcome, but I hope people left with more of an understanding of how the role of president has changed while also considering each president’s role in shaping history,” said Smetana, a computer science major who plays Presidents Adams, Truman and George W. Bush, among many others. “This show stresses that through the thick and thin of each president, we, the American people, are still those responsible for the history we have created for ourselves.”
No matter the audience’s political stance, however, there was much to be appreciated from the show, and although “44 Plays for 44 Presidents” was a very important historical look at our nation’s former leaders, the show was, according to Dutton, by no means a dull or boring.
“There is a large amount of audience interaction and participation that keeps the audience involved,” Dutton said. “The show is filled with scenes that make you laugh, but also ones that make you stop and think about our history as a nation.”