A warning for today’s American from 1935 novel by SInclair Lewis

Autumn Gonzales (with sign) and the cast encourage audience members to speak out in It Can’t Happen Here, a new play based on Sinclair Lewis’ eerily prescient 1935 novel, adapted for the stage by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen, presented by Foothill Theatre Arts at the Lohman Theatre, Nov. 2-19, 2017.
Photo credit: David Allen

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis wrote a prognostic novel in 1935 about a long-shot candidate, Sen. Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, running for the presidency promising to return the country to greatness again. The semi-satirical play performed at Foothill College from Nov. 2 – to Nov. 19 is based on the novel and adapted for the stage by Tony Taccone and Bennett S, Cohen.

In the story, the long-shot wins and resorts to upending American democracy. Martial law is imposed, free speech is constrained, editors of newspapers who question or disagree with the powers that be are sent to concentration camps, gangs of black booted militia are in control, and nothing remains of the country as we knew it. Lewis’s story, reflecting the fascism growing in Europe during his age, might be a warning for America in the 21st century

Director Bruce McLeod has taken Lewis’s story and not so subtly throws the message at the audience with full force. It was unnerving and uncomfortable but necessary to hear the alarm. A group of resilient actors delivers this bombastic play that left me with a dizzy distressing feeling of  “what if?”

The actors carry the show with Doremus Jessup as Vic Prosak giving an amazing performance as the newspaper editor who questions and disagrees with the president and ends up in a concentration camp. Carla Befera, as Lorinda, is believable and sharp as the his associate activist. Thomas Times as the winning president brings a impressive rousing interest to the part and the question, how could someone like this really happen?

“It Can’t Happen Here” is a thought-provoking piece of theater that will make you realize that no matter which side of this present confusing maze we are in, fascism can happen in today’s America. It will certainly give you something to think about.

If you have any desire to see what the possibility of what the other side of the coin would look like, be sure and go and see this production of “It Can’t Happen Here”.


What: “It Can’t Happen Here”

Where: Lohman Theatre – Foothill College Campus – 12345 El Monte Road – Los Altos Hills

Through Nov,19

Tickets , Reservations and information: 650 949-7360  or visit:  www.foothill.edu/theatre/current.php

Camille Bounds

Camille Bounds

Theater Columnist at Morgan Hill Life
Camille Bounds is the theater columnist for the Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy LIfe newspapers. She has performed on Broadway and traveled around the world. She can be reached at: bounds17@gmail,com
Camille Bounds