Linfield Theatre explores meaning of democracy with “Democratically Speaking”  

Linfield University’s theatre program presents free livestream performances of “Democratically Speaking” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9-10 on the Linfield Theatre YouTube page.   

The play explores the abstract idea and realities of democracy from its roots in ancient Greece to current times. Using found text originally assembled by Stanford University professor Rush Rehm, the script features wisdom, challenges, calls to action and general musings on the nature of democracy from the perspective of poets, dictators, playwrights, world leaders, philosophers and activists.

“During a general election cycle, it’s vital that we consider what’s at stake when we vote—if indeed we are able to vote,” Mantoan said. “We hope this play inspires people to reflect on how it came to be that some people are able to vote, what systems in this country and abroad are truly democratic, and what obstacles prevent a society from achieving equality and justice.” 

Each night will feature a post-show discussion moderated by director Lindsey Mantoan, an assistant professor of theatre and resident dramaturg at Linfield. On Friday night, she will be joined by Patrick Cottrell, professor and chair of the Department of Political ScienceDimitri Kelly, associate Professor of Political Science; Chelsea Armstrong, a junior majoring in international relations; and Alexandria Hunter, a senior majoring in theatre arts.  

Saturday’s panelists are Nick Buccola, Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political ScienceDawn Nowackiprofessor of political scienceand Pedro Graterol, a senior majoring in political science and music. 

The play was purposefully scheduled for Oct. 9-10, the last weekend before the voter registration deadline in Oregon.  

“The stakes are so high right now and people are questioning the future of democracy in the United States,” Mantoan said. “We have to know our history, and we have to listen to the next generation. ‘Democratically Speaking’ will teach, inspire and terrify you, and hopefully renew your commitment to civic engagement.” 

Linfield student actors include Chloe Brady, Lucy Gordon, David Gray, Calder Ifft, Nicole Tigner, Robert Turner, and Mara Youngren-Brown; with design and technical support from Hailee Foster, technology designer; Alexandria Hunter, assistant director; Clementine Dorsey, stage manager; Alea Tran, sound designer; Hannah Curry, video designer; Rachel Goines, costume designer; Ellie Gossett, assistant costume designer; and dramaturgy/script consultants Caroline Calvano and Abbie Northrup. 

Visit linfield.edu/arts/ for more information about Linfield’s literary and performing arts programs.