Thursday, January 29, 2009

Terre Haute

Peter Eyre does a flawless Gore Vidal and Nick Westrate a short-fused, intense Timothy McVeigh in this 80-minute drama (by Edmund White) that imagines the famous author interviewing the infamous Oklahoma City bomber. The two, given fictional names here, never met face to face: the play is an imagining of what they might have discussed if they had. For a long while, as the men suss out first the commonality and then the differences in their belief systems, the play has an electricity thanks to the excellent performances and the gravity of the men's topics. But the play backs away from true political complexity, and ultimately winds up more concerned with the well-worn subtext of the relationship between the men rather than with their ideas. Although the play held my strict attention for an hour, I found the final scene so disappointing and irrelevant that it ultimately cheapened and ruined the play for me.

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