This Week in Theater
Written and Directed by Christian Levatino
Review by Rose Desena
I missed this production the first time around, so I was pleased it had a second run.
The play opens at a police station in Texas on November 22, 1963; President J. F.Kennedy was just shot and killed as he was riding in a motorcade. I was a wee child in NYC, but I remember my mother crying and it seemed like the world had ended, a dark cloud hung over the country. The streets of our Brooklyn neighborhood suddenly went quiet, everyone inside their apartments glued to their TV sets. The days that followed, I would never forget. Grownups were huddling around in the markets or on the front steps saying things like “how could they kill him, and the country will never be the same.”
Handcuffed to a chair in a Dallas police station is suspected gunman Lee Harvey Oswald (Andy Hirsch). Police Captain William Fritz ( Darret Sanders), a hard-edged Texan, is questioning Oswald trying to get him to confess. The more the Captain questions him the more he is convinced he did not act alone. You could almost read his mind as he probes, something is not right here. This was too sophisticated a task for this simple man to have done himself. As the hours, go by the FBI, CIA and Secret Service pressure Fritz into letting them take him into custody. Washington wanted the evidence ASAP. They wanted to present the gunman to the public and be done with it. The word “conspiracy” was eating away at the souls of all those in and out of that station house, and Detective Fritz was a little too smart. Reluctantly, Fritz agrees to let him go and of course, as feared by the smart detective, he is shot and killed as he boarded the transport van. With him dies the truth. To this day, it is all theory. Detective Frits was correct though, according to Levatino (and most of the country) he most definitely did not act alone.
We are all familiar with the conspiracy theories that surrounded the death of the late President, but the writer Christian Levatino added his own little twist. Oswald was easily manipulated with chocolate bars and Coca Cola, putting him in sugar trance that would allow him to be easily persuaded. I could not help but think about the famous Twinkie case. Dan White kills San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in cold blood; his successful defense was a sugar depression from his obsessive consumption of Hostess Twinkies that caused him to act irrationally. After hearing that about Dan White, I stopped eating those Hostess cakes and stuck to my second favorite Oreos.
Whether you are conspiracy theorists or have your own opinion about the Kennedy assassination this was a tragedy, a shattering event that most likely changed America and its future. This year ended the 50th anniversary of his death, a time that should never be forgotten.
The play was brilliantly executed by Levatino himself; he directed the large, talented cast to absolute perfection. Good staging added to the stellar acting made the 90 minutes fly by. Even though we know the ending, I waited attentively right to the bittersweet ending.
This is entertaining theater at $20 a ticket; it’s just a bit more than a film. So get off the couch, grab a friend, your spouse, or a good liberal, and check it out.
Written/ Directed by Christian Levatino
Friday and Saterday @ 8 pm Sunday @ 3 pm. Closes February 1st. Cast: Giovanni Adams, Patrick Flanagan, Michael Franco, Gil Glasgow, Andy Hirsch, Patrick Hume, Christian Levatino, Mark St. Amant, Darrett Sanders, Dustin Sisney, Donnie Smith Janellen Steininger and LQ Victor.
Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038.
ONLINE TICKETING: www.gangbusterstheatre.com