“The Mayor’s Debate of Tranquility, Nebraska” — A Silly, Insightful Parable of the American Electorate

By Ernest Kearney — There have been a number of shows at Hollywood Fringe Festival ‘19 which I have felt were dismissible as Twilight Zone riffs or Stephen King mash-ups. There have also been a number of productions attempting to present political allegories on the current state of this nation, most of which I have felt were less than successful.

The Mayor’s Debate of Tranquility, Nebraska while both a Twilight Zone doppelganger and political parable is certainly the cream that rises to the top.

We start off with a mayoral debate presented on the local airways. Hosted by a dim news personality, (Emily Dorsett is delightful, coming off like Sean Hannity in drag – though far more attractive).
The three candidates involved represent a standard microcosm of the American political spectrum: the uber-liberal, in a same sex union who advocates votes for babies (Katie Streeter), the Libertarian-slash-Tea Party gink who feels that the best political system is found in the vacuum of deep, deep space (Lucie Beeby) and the smiling, slimy incumbent snollygoster, the type who will do anything to achieve ascendancy (Jim Hanna).

The debate goes from glad-handing to backstabbing with gleeful alacrity. If Hanna, who wrote the script, had limited his piece to silliness and witty barbs, The Mayor’s Debate of Tranquility, Nebraska would have been an amusing little ditty. It is his introduction of Rod Sterling’s “cornfield” and Stephen King’s “mist” that brings a sinister element of political satire that ups the ante on stage and lifts this production above the commonplace.

The real debate here is not so much focused on the limits of political correctness but rather the necessity of rage in a society that has seemingly shattered all its traditional boundaries. In bringing Fringe audiences into this debate, Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolutionHanna and crew have provided laughs with the bitterest of aftertaste and a chilling moral: Behind the mockery lurks the monster.


The Mayor’s Debate of Tranquility, Nebraska

playing during The Fringe at

the Complex Hollywood
6472 Santa Monica Blvd.
For Complete Show Information: http://hff19.org/5945


For Events, Plays and Other Fun Fringe News and Info: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/


Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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