By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
The trio, an American doctor, Adam (Robert Strain); an Irish journalist, Edward (Christian Rockwell); and an English academic, Michael (Peter Haig), are chained to separate walls in a single, empty, prison cell. As months drag on, they struggle to maintain their sanity and find the will to endure their ordeal and the ever-present threat of sudden death at the hands of their captors. As might be expected, the tough-talking Irishman can't stand the ultracivilized, prim Englishman, who seems a fussy scholar immersed in irrelevant worlds of medieval romance and myth. But as their situation worsens, a remarkable turnabout occurs: The Irishman begins to crack under the strain, but the Englishman finds strength from his classical texts. What begins as a hyperrealistic political drama turns into a parable of the human need for storytelling, to give order and sense to an incomprehensible, chaotic present experience.
All this may sound depressing, but that's only part of the effect of this production. Featuring excellent, finely detailed performances, the production takes you through a spectrum of emotions -- and thoughts. There is sorrow here, and conflict, but also a considerable amount of wit and humor. Haig is superb as Michael, the seemingly weak-willed pedant whose inner reserve surprises even himself. Rockwell and Strain are also excellent, a fine ensemble that speaks well of Simon's casting instincts and his level of expectation. Simon's direction is effective -- spare and detailed -- though I wish he had allowed for more silences and tempo shifts.
The Mosaic has made a strong showing with Someone, but unfortunately, the play did not gain the audiences it deserved and the theater did not extend its regular run as anticipated, closing it on December 23. Like several other area theaters, the Mosaic appears to be from the Produce It and They Will Come school of marketing. Sadly, worthy productions do not automatically make for strong audience response. The performance I attended, toward the middle of the run, pulled in eight people. How to get the word out when the costs of advertising are so high? That's the big challenge for the Mosaic and for most area theaters, especially the smaller ones. They (and you) can't count on me to take up the slack -- this is a weekly column, after all.
So what to do? Here's one partial solution for the sometime theatergoer: Do some marketing yourself. Call your local company, make some reservations, gather your friends, and go, with or without reviews to rely on. If you are fortunate to stumble on a cast like this one, you'll count yourselves blessed.