Through October 5
NAVIGATORS Alleyway Theatre
Gordon Farrell’s “Navigators” is about transitions, life transitions and political transitions.
E.J’s (Chris J. Handley) mother has just died and there is a wake underway in the great house high above the boathouse where he’s hanging out.
He’s pondering his future in a highly political family and the mother who neglected E.J. and his sister Maddy (Sandra Roberts) for politics.
Mom had reached the peak of American politics, the U.S. Senate, and now her seat must be filled after her death.
Uncle Leo (Tom Owen), another US Senator, has just the ideal choice for a gubernatorial appointment, E.J.
The son is bitter about the way he feels used by his mother and has abandoned his career as a prosecutor to ponder the great issues and try to write adventure novels.
He can’t write.
E.J. thinks politics is a dirty business and it took his mother away when he was growing up.
Maddy appears and argues with him because she’s interested in the Senate seat herself.
She doesn’t have the jaundiced view of politics of her brother and wants to be a player.
Director, set designer and outgoing Alleyway impresario Neal Radice has contributed a truly fascinating set to help tell the story.
Maddy gets a message that Uncle Leo wants to talk to them and in a truly isolated place out in the water.
They leave the boathouse on a boat and Leo arrives for the meeting on another boat, both moving across the stage as if across the water.
The meeting digs out secrets, very dark personal and political secrets.
Uncle Leo’s personal story is a look at some of the worst years of the 20th Century, a century of very bad years and how some good people worked to prevent those years from ever happening again.
It also reminds us of some American decisions in very hard times the nation should never forget and never repeat.
You might guess what happens and why and you would be entitled to suspect the ending, although you might not.
Director Radice has strong efforts to work with from Handley, the future boss at the Alleyway, and Owen.
I though Roberts was a little too soft in the role.
In a time of national political tumult and when there is a succession struggle underway for a seat on the House of Representatives, there are issues on the Alleyway stage relevant to right now and worth thinking about.
That’s why “Navigators,” is worth seeing.
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