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Select all: Election play tackles every topic

Power to the people: The play “Election Selection,” which lands in Coney Island on Aug. 19, brings together community activists, 1920s suffragettes, drag queens, and refugees to battle political problems.
for Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about political theater!

An exuberant, overstuffed play is using 30 actors, 12 crew members, five live musicians, a traveling stage, a giant hand-cranked moving backdrop, life-size puppets, masks, and a live-action Pikachu to convince New Yorkers to vote. “Election Selection, or You Bet!” is appearing around the five boroughs this summer, with three performances in Brooklyn, starting Aug. 19 on the Coney Island boardwalk.

The show’s writer said that she wanted to address every topic that might matter to voters this election season.

“We have every single issue in our play!” said Crystal Field, who also plays an angry grandma in the show.

“Election Selection” is a bonanza of ideas and ideals, tackling global warming, gun violence, health care, war, the Middle East, immigration, discrimination against Muslims, affirmative action, civil rights, Stonewall, the economic crisis of 2008 and its aftermath, the gig economy, police violence, violence against police, poverty — all delivered with songs and a bit of time travel.

This year’s presidential candidates only appear briefly in a dream sequence, represented by Wonder Woman and the Joker. But Field swears the play does not back Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

“They’re both a little on the wrong side,” she says — too busy fighting each other to deal with real issues, which are represented in the play by a costumed monster representing global warming, war, and poverty.

The show is aimed at residents of the neighborhoods where it performs, and while one message is that voting is important, Field thinks local organizing is even more so.

“We want people to vote and we want them to get involved in politics—we don’t want them just to vote, but to actually get involved, talk to each other about the issues, join together,” she said. “The theme of this play is that political power begins at the bottom: with your block association, your zoning board, your community board, your school board, your city council, your mayor—that’s where it starts.”

“Election Selection, or You Bet!” on the Coney Island Boardwalk (at W. 10th Street in Coney Island, (212) 254–1109, www.theaterforthenewcity.net]. Aug. 19 at 6:30 pm. Free.

Additional performances Aug. 21 at 2 pm in Herbert Von King Park (670 Lafayette Ave. between Marcy and Tompkins avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant); and Aug. 27 at 2 pm in Sunset Park (Sixth Avenue at 44th Street in Sunset Park). Free.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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