Liberty Injustice - Review


Agit-prop - (adj.) 1.  abbreviation for "Agitated Propaganda." 2. having a distinct political perspective and attitude.  3. the style embraced by the Blue Sphere Alliance in their production of "Liberty Injustice."

The curtain opens as a woman (Jonelle Allen) walks to center stage to perform a beautiful, a capella rendition of "God Bless America." She is Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, and every American rolled into one patriotic body while warmly singing, until she is abruptly interrupted by a character who introduces himself as our "Guide" (Adam Kaiz). Breaking the fourth wall, he announces that there will be a play, and he sustains his role as a sort of Audience Liaison throughout the show, talking both to us and the players.

Our Greeter is interrupted by The Department of Homeland Security ("Dark Suit" played by Morgan Margolis and "Frank" played by Greg Suddeth), who arrest an audience member on suspicion of terrorism. If you have ever dealt or just listened to the Department (or dealt with their toadies, the government's airport security screeners) you'll find them terrifyingly short-minded, appropriately intimidating, and very real.

As the play progresses, we discover that the Department of Homeland Security feels the FBI gets all the respect and glamour so they are trying to out-do them for what they feel is their fair share of fame.

The next time we see the actor pulled from the audience (Mahout Jamil as "Maher Taros") he is a naked American being drilled by the Department as they irrationally assert themselves, trying to achieve the fame they feel they deserve through one victim who knows nothing.

We again meet the woman who ends up being an attorney ("Ellen Dahlstrom") who has made her career defending the despised.  Against the wishes of her husband who wants to get on with their retirement (Robert Sampson) she accepts one final case: a sheik implicated in terrorism.  Ellen meets Maher and she, too becomes a prisoner of the Department of Homeland Security.

The action is occasionally interrupted by a puppet master (Erik Davies), portraying the Commander of our Department of Homeland Security, George W. Bush, who pulls the strings, shall we say, of such puppets as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice.  As most of "Liberty Injustice" is performed with the house lights on, playwright Colin McKay is showing us how to see right through the President.

The outstanding cast is supported by Tom Boyle and Elizabeth Graham who, from the audience, question the players.

 
One of the more chilling performances is by Brian Burnett, playing various characters, who tells the true tales of several Americans, after speaking out against George W. Bush, "mysteriously" die.

No matter what side of the political fence you sit on, the message is summed up by the playwright's words, "The Department is Homeland Security of not real unless you say they are."  The cast encourages you to vote, and provides voter registration materials in the lobby.  The League of Women Voters is in attendance to support the voter drive.

"Liberty Injustice" is presented by the Blue Sphere Alliance in association with Theatre East. It is written by Colin McKay,    directed by Anthony Barnao, and produced by Collette Divine. It is performed at the Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood (one block north of Santa Monica Boulevard and one block east of Highland Avenue) with parking across the street.

"Liberty Injustice" opens Friday, September 24, 2004 and runs Friday and Saturday nights at  8:00pm as well as Sundays at 3:00pm through October 31, 2004.  Tickets are $15, with discounts given to actor union members ($10) and groups of ten or more ($10).  For information call (323) 957-5782 and see www.bluespherealliance.com.

 

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