Sunday, April 30, 2017

Play a Day: 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson)

Patricia Cotter
For Sunday the last day of April, I read 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) by Patricia Cotter, and available from New Play Exchange.

"It would be nice to change ... the world."

After all that has happened -- during the last one hundred days, and after the past thirty days reading plays about race and gender, about relationships and politics, comedy and tragedy, sex and terrorism, despair and hope -- it was only fitting I conclude with a period parable reflecting upon that greatest of American traditions, believing in a loser.

I am just old enough to remember John Anderson running as a third-party candidate for President, not only enough to understand the implications. I started reading Doonesbury when I was twelve, just after Reagan was elected, so it wasn't until the book came of recent strips came out that I became familiar with a certain phrase I have used myself once too often. Mike is at a small phone bank in a dismal campaign office in New Hampshire, cold calling for this doomed Illinois congressman, and he responds to a disinterested voter by saying, "Well, he's never heard of you, either."

We did win on November 8. We got the most votes. Can you be so right and still lose everything?

The four characters in Cotter's play, three women, one man of color, they each believe in the underdog, each for their own reasons, and they work for him but without the fire that the zealot possesses. Anderson's campaign was reactionary, as most third-party candidacies are. He was representing an opposition to Reagan, but as his positions were more similar to Carter's he was really saying, I'll do what this guy tried to do only better this time. It's not a strong message.

And Reagan was Reagan.

So concludes Reading a Play a Day in April. Thank you for following, for retweeting, for liking and for commenting. I have met several wonderful people, which only goes to remind me that there are so many more incomparable writers out there, producing great work that deserves to be read and produced.

Tomorrow the time I have used for the reading with be occupied with the writing. A page a day in May! Probably more than a page each day, but maybe not much more. I started something earlier this month and I have no idea where it's taking me, which is unusual for me, and exciting. I like the people, and what they are up to, and I want to know what happens to them. I am looking forward to that.

Scripts by David Hansen available to read on New Play Exchange:

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