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01 avril 2006

Theatre Review: More Trouble in the UK

Our search for fine British plays continued on the North Side where we took in a timely neighborhood drama and a comic slice of life.

Osama the Hero, Dog & Pony Theatre

“We do what we’re told, told to do.” – Peter Gabriel

A community on edge from a terrorist threat and a fear mongering media goes ballistic when a bomb detonates in Mark’s (Brian Rickel) garage, killing his wife. Gary (Jarrett Sleeper), an awkward high schooler suspended for calling Bin Laden a hero to his followers, is kidnapped by Mark’s neighbors Louise and Frances (Lois Atkins and David Gray), who tie him to a chair and then, along with Mark and his friend Mandy (Kim Purdy), force him to confess or face their wrath. As Sleeper plays the scene, we truly believed he was innocent and no one else cared to believe him.

osama cast.jpgWhat followed was some of the most disturbingly well-staged violence we’ve seen in a long time, a moment where playwright Dennis Kelly and director Krissy Vanderwarker pinpoint the psychology of misdirected rage in the name of national and international security.

Too bad Kelly structures the rest of the play in more static monologues, confessionals, and petty squabbles, staged claustrophobically by Vanderwarker. We reach the climactic struggle familiar with the characters but not terribly invested in anyone. Louise’s stubborn ethical relativism and Mark’s arrested development and frightening pathos were excellently played. They, and these issues, deserve to be part of something bigger.

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