“Democracy must be reborn in every generation and education is its midwife.” John Dewey
How does one learn to be a citizen? Often by learning from those who have gone before. Both good and bad habits can be passed on. September 21-24 the League of Women Voters will sponsoring the performance of a new play written to help us review, think about, and share what it takes to practice democracy. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on September 21-23, and 2:00 p.m. on September 24. All performances will be held at Missouri United Methodist Church and the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County plan to host post-performance discussions.
The play is titled “Practicing Democracy” and we interviewed its author, David Webber, to find out more.
1C1C: Tell us briefly what your play is about.
DW: “Practicing Democracy”
is a tale of two ambitious young candidates aspiring for the state legislature who meet an elder statesman aspiring to restore democracy. The mix of campaign practices and information technology provide challenges and opportunities affecting the election result. There are five characters (two candidate, a wise old man, a campaign consultant, and a TV reporter). The play is set in a party primary to make it non-partisan so that it focuses on bigger issues relating to democracy.
1C1C: Why did you write it?
DW: I wrote the play to stimulate discussion of the state of American campaigns and to focus attention on how our individual decisions affect our political system. The play is informed by my 40 years of observations of both campaigns and the college students working on them, as well as and my conversations with long-tome political observers.
1C1C: Can you tell us about some of the observers who influenced you?
DW: The main character, a Mr. Adams, is influenced by my recollections of several of my heroes, particularly Missourian Lt. Governor Harriet Woods and Pachyderm founder George Parker.
1C1C: What do you hope people will take from from the play?
DW: My hope is that younger citizens will find a Mr or Ms. Adams who they converse with and that us older citizens become a Mr. or Ms. Adams and engage each other in meaningful conversations about our democracy. I am looking forward to reactions and comments.
1C1C: Tell us more about how you came to write this play.
DW: In addition to my academic writing, I have written op ed essays in the Columbia Missourian
and Columbia Daily Tribune
since 1994. I like to write essays. In 2015, my first play “A Night at the Shelter” was performed in Columbia (directed by Caryl Bryan). I had the original idea for the play back in 2001. I tried to write it in 2010 but the draft was too partisan. In 2016 I realized I could write it about a party primary and so focus on democracy and elections without partisan rancor.
1C1C: Where can people purchase tickets?
DW: Tickets can be purchased at our website
and we are hoping for a good turn out.
1C1C: Thank you for your work!