Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yankee Tavern

Yankee Tavern
ACT Theater
July 30-August 5, 2010

Shawn Telford (Adam), Charles Leggett (Ray), R. Hamilton Wright (Palmer), and Jennifer Lee Taylor (Janet) photo by: Chris Bennion

We all have questions about the horrific events that took place on that early morning of September 11, 2001. Who is truly responsible? Why was this act of terror committed? Could we have prevented it? In Steven Dietz's play, Yankee Tavern, Dietz is able to answer all of these questions about the conspiracies surrounding 9/11 by creating a few of his own.

The Yankee Tavern (both directed and written by Steven Dietz) is set in a bar in New York City in the year 2006; five years after the 9/11. The play is surrounded by the near college graduate Adam (Shawn Telford), young owner of the Yankee Tavern Bar, his fiancée Janet (Jennifer Lee Taylor) and two Tavern locals-the radical, but hilarious Ray (Charles Leggett) and the mysterious Palmer (R. Hamilton Wright). Ray, who is also an old family friend of Adam's, if filled with extreme conspiracy theories about America and he expresses them comically each night in the bar where the other three characters tease and ignore his crazy ideas. One topic in particular though, strikes everyone's interest. The terrorist attacks of 9/11. Ray has a theory that the American government committed these malicious attacks and, surprisingly, has evidence and a strong case to prove it. While this conspiracy is discussed, night after night in the bar not only are secrets of the American nation revealed, but secrets each character's life as well.
Dietz (Becky's New Car, Fiction) is a playwright that has, yet again, brought the ACT theater another play that is both outstanding and mind boggling. The research that was done for the play is impressive, considering the fact that each claim the character, Ray, makes to back up his 9/11 theories are all true. Also, the dark humor and intellectual depth inside the script provokes the mind of each audience member and provides plenty of moments for great, comic relief.

Other than having an outstanding director/playwright, the actors deserve a stupendous round of applause as well for the creation of The Yankee Tavern. Charles Leggett is one actor in particular who really takes the stage with his radical character Ray. He delivers each line with comedic genius, but also manages to reveal the emotional depth underneath his character's "funny man" persona. Of course, the rest of the cast is a group of extremely talented individuals who worked together in perfect chemistry on stage. So well played it feels as if you are actually an observer in the Yankee Tavern Bar instead of watching a theatrical performance.

Yankee Tavern is a play full of entertaining twists and facts that will give it's audience members something to contemplate long after the play is over. Even though it is a politically filled "dramedy" (mixture of comedy and drama), the play is open to all interests and view points; making it enjoyable for all. Whether you want to take part in the political mysteries or sit back and appreciate the wonderful art of theater, it is entirely up to you and definitely a play worth seeing.