Remy Bumppo Theatre presents
NIGHT AND DAY
At Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln
Written by Tom Stoppard
Directed by James Bohnen
Thru November 14th
Running Time: Two hours and ten minutes includes a ten minute intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Freedom of the press! Free to do what? Report the truth! Who's version? Remy Bumppo presents NIGHT AND DAY. Written and set in the 1970's, playwright Tom Stoppard explores the relevance and intentions of the media. A businessman and his wife host three journalists on the eve of a war in a fictional African country. The competing journalists are on deadline for an exclusive to the rebellion. The wife, a former mistress and paparazzi target, has strong opinions on where reporters should stick their article. The husband is a neutral businessman with ties to all parties. The President arrives with his own carry-a-big-stick devolution philosophy. Who will be the biggest warmonger in the next 24-hours? NIGHT AND DAY engages with headline-worthy political corruption and tabloid-sensational sex scandal.
Former journalist, Stoppard argues every angle of the story about getting the story. Director James Bohnen paces the conflict with an uprising urgency and verbal sniper attacks. Adding a wicked humor, Linda Gillum plays Ruth deliciously ruthless and (t)ruthful. Not only does Gillum have witty and naughty banter with the journalists, she also shares her snide and hysterical commentary as an ongoing sidebar with the audience. Greg Matthew Anderson (Jacob) charms Ruth and the audience as the innocent, optimistic war correspondent. As the newbie, Anderson is cocky approaching a war news article like a board game prize. Representing the seasoned press corps, Shawn Douglass (Dick) is bitter-splendid as the fast-talking, wise-cracking, scotch-drinking, word-twisting reporter focused on the front page trophy. Also a newspaper veteran, Jeff Cummings (Guthrie) brings an authentic vulnerability as a photographer going for the win while fearing the real fatality of losing. Ernest Perry, Jr. (Mageeba) is full-on presidential as his diplomatic speech turns dictatorial rant. David Darlow(Geoffrey) is the understated but resigned political and husband pawn. John Francis Babbo (Alastair) is the precocious son and photographer enthusiast.
Tom Stoppard is wonderfully self-depreciating in his portrayal of reporters as 'all writing no facts.' A reporter doll is described as a wind-up toy that tells stories wrong. Stoppard suggests reporters aren't heroes for free speech. They are ego-driven, big business stooges. But wait! Stoppard comes back with a poignant and simple truth. The media is there to relay the story. In 1970, the press deadline required transcribing the news at night to get into the morning print. In 2010, the media has expanded and the story goes 'live' with the click of a mouse. Any blogger has limitless readership and instant global outreach. Freedom of the internet! Free to do what? Report the truth! Who's version? Despite technological advances, Stoppard's play still has a timeless quality of communicating the truth to people. Remy Bumppo's NIGHT AND DAY kicks off their Secret Lives, Public Lies Season with a Un-Stopp(ard)able hit!