Suppose famed explorers Lewis and Clark acted as the goofy duo Bill and Ted of movie fame.
Imagine hearing the Underground Railroad, which smuggled slaves to freedom before the Civil War, described in heartfelt rap.
And imagine what it would be like to sit there when the Wright brothers — yes, Orville and Wilbur — tell their high school guidance counselor that they want to fly like a bird.
All of these scenarios take place in “United States, a story of teenagers” will be performed by the Iowa Central Community College Theater Department, beginning Monday and running through October 15.
Teresa Jackson, director of college theater, described the show as a comedy and musical that examines American history through a teenage perspective. She said it begins with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World in 1492 and ends with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Along the way, she said, it addresses all the issues with which a democracy struggles.
And while the worst terrorist attack on American soil is the play’s final major historical event, it doesn’t end on a grim, somber note, according to Jackson.
“It Ends With Hope” she says. “It ends patriotic.”
In the show, the unfolding of American history is set to music.
“There’s a Ton of Chants” she says. “If there is no singing, there is dancing.”
“United States, a story of teenagers” was written by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus. He made his debut in 2014 at the writer duo’s teen theater camp in Jefferson City, Missouri.
“What I love about this show is that it entertains and also stimulates your intellect,” said Jackson.
She said she received permission from the show’s writers to make edits and additions. For example, she said the rap about the Underground Railroad is based on a poem she wrote.
Jackson selects shows that will suit his returning students and incoming students. This year, she also had to choose something that would work well for a small theater space. With initial work already underway to renovate the Decker Auditorium, the show had to be moved to the smaller auditorium in the Biological and Health Sciences building. She said the smaller space “creates an intimacy we haven’t yet experienced with an audience in Central Iowa.”
She added that parking will be a “broken” because there is a parking lot just in front of the Biosciences and Health Sciences Pavilion.
The production has a cast and crew of 50 people.
If you are going to
What: Production of Iowa Central Community College “United States, a story of teenagers”
When: 7 p.m. Monday through October 15
Where: Biosciences and Health Sciences Pavilion
Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for students. Students and employees of Iowa Central Community College are admitted free.
How to get tickets
Visit the Iowa Central Community College Bookstore or the bookstore’s website at iowacentral.edu/bookstore.
It is recommended to obtain tickets in advance due to the reduced capacity of the auditorium.