Hesston College Theatre to open season with look at responding to disabilities

And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson promotional photo

Hesston College Theatre will present five performances of “And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson” by Jim Leonard, Jr., as the fall play Oct. 25 to 29, in the Keim Center Black Box Theater on the Hesston College campus.

Showtimes are 7 p.m., Oct. 25 to 28, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Oct. 29. The play is rated PG13 for language and difficult themes. Children are not recommended to attend.

Based in Jackson, Ind., “And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson” centers on a young woman named Elizabeth Willow who, due to her exposure to polio as an infant, uses a wheelchair and wears leg braces and feels bound by those elements of her life. She is a wonderfully bright and capable girl, but that potential is unseen by many. Adults pity her, children fear her and the few people who are willing to allow Elizabeth in their lives keep her at arm’s length, anxious at what others may think.

“The story is a familiar struggle, but our world still can’t seem to get it right,” said director Rachel Jantzi. “This show wrestles with how we treat those we don’t fully understand and the consequences for one young woman when that understanding isn’t offered.”

The Hesston College production stars 7 students, but 4 of the 7 portray 28 characters between them. “The script is not an easy one,” Jantzi said. But she hopes to provide a new experience for both actors and audience members after last year’s theme: “A season of laughter.”

Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. Tickets can be purchased through the Hesston College Bookstore in person, by phone at 620-327-8104 or online. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. Tickets will be available at the door 30 minutes prior to show time and are subject to availability.