Play depicts fictional politician with autismA performance of “A Party of One” is at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts.
By: Jennifer Jungwirth, The Daily Republic
With the political season in full swing, the Huron Area Community Theatre is bringing its own political tale Sunday to Mitchell.
A performance of the theater group’s “A Party of One” is at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Tickets are available at the theater box office, 700 N. Main Street, Mitchell. Proceeds from the show will benefit LifeQuest, a Mitchell provider of services to people with developmental disabilities.
Huron ACT teamed up with the Center for Independence in Huron, an organization that aids people with developmental disabilities, for “A Party of One.”
The play, written by Kelsy Anne Schoennaar, of Madison, Wis., is loosely based on the story of Gladys Pyle, a Huron native, South Dakota politician and the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
“A Party of One” tells the journey of the fictitious character Jackie Wilson who runs for Congress. The play adds the fictitious twist of Wilson having autism, and the show reveals what might happen if an individual with autism were to run for public office.
“It really challenges people’s former assumptions of those with disabilities and their interests; it really challenges their perception,” said Georgia Langbehn, of the Center for Independence for Huron and a co-director of the show.
This is the third performance Huron ACT and the Center for Independence has collaborated on, but it’s the first time a play has been taken on the road. The cast of “A Party of One” is comprised of Huron ACT members and residents of the Center for Independence.
“We’re proud of the work we’ve done, and we want to share that,” Langbehn said.
Schoennaar has written all three shows performed by Huron ACT and Center for Independence. The writer visits the Huron theater and works with the cast, doing improvisation and other activities. From there, she writes a script and tailors a part for each person.
“We want to give people support and the opportunity to bridge with others in the community,” Langbehn added. “Through these different activities, people build relationships … and once you’re in a play with someone, you’re like family.”
Mike Lyon, co-director of “A Party of One,” agreed: “Instead of talking with someone who has a disability about their disability, we hope they can talk to them about what their dreams are, what their goals are.”