Kennesaw State University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies will present the cult classic “45 Plays for 45 Presidents” from Sept. 24-29 at the Onyx Theater on the Kennesaw campus.
Expanding with each election, the play features seven actors portraying America’s storied presidents from inception to today, bringing obscure tales of the commanders-in-chief to light in whimsical and witty ways.
At the helm of the play is KSU alumnus and director Damien Lockhart.
“Everything from the set to the costumes allows the audience to get a taste of the nation’s nuanced history,” Lockhart said.
“From the start, (director) Damian and I both agreed we did not want to give this production an ‘Uncle Sam on the 4th of July kind of costume,’” said Nicole Clockel, costume designer and a KSU alumnus. “It feels phony and this show is about giving a fuller picture, so why not give something more than one image of America? However, I did keep the (American) Revolutionary coat style to give the audience something that they immediately connect to George Washington and the beginning of our national history.”
To help engage the audience and remind them of their civic duties, each performance will house a voter registration table and materials on how to contact state and federal representatives.
Although they are short plays, “45 Plays for 45 Presidents” is still a lot to handle. Some of the biggest challenges came with the scale of the show.
“The challenge was juggling all these different balls in the air, as there are over 150 roles and lots of props,” said Lockhart. “I needed to allow everyone’s unique skills to shine, but also balance the roles and keep track of the props.”
Lockhart has become very active in Atlanta’s professional theatre scene since graduating KSU, both as an actor and director. Some credits include “Midsummer Daydreaming” at KSU, “Atlanta” (FX), “Completeness” at Mask Theatre and “Twilight Los Angeles: 1992” at KSU.
Clockel, currently costume design assistant for the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, freelances for various groups in the area, including Aurora Theatre and Synchronicity Theatre, where she mounted two productions of “A Year with Frog and Toad.” At the Center for Puppetry Arts, she works in the puppet building shop.
Seating is limited. Tickets are available at ticketing.kennesaw.edu.