by Lee Blessing
2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the original production of Lee Blessing's penetrating play about hostage-taking in the Middle East that is still frighteningly relevant today.
Two rooms worlds apart: in one, Michael Wells an American university professor held hostage by Arab terrorists; in the other, his wife Lainie, desperate to stay connected with him despite being thousands of miles away.
Into Michael's room come his tormentors; into Lainie's room come hers - the United States Government and the press corps. State Department representative, the efficient Ellen Van Oss, claims to be doing everything she can to procure the release of this ''low value hostage'' and to urge Lainie's silence. Ambitious journalist, Walker Harris, pushes Lainie to tell her story, his big scoop, and to speak out against the government, in a vain bid to help win Michael's freedom.
Nobody is a winner in this timely political piece, a piece which begs the pertinent questions: What happens to the individuals involved in a government-determined 'international crisis' or a press-hungry 'big story'? Can a government afford to care about one man and his family in the context of a large scale war? Does the press have an obligation to be sensitive to the needs of those whose lives have become the story of the day?
WHAT: TWO ROOMS by Lee Blessing
WHERE: The Gene Frankel Theatre, New York City
WHO: Director: James Phillip Gates, Producer: Tracy Hostmyer and Kristin Barnett for Roust, Set Design: Casey Smith, Lighting Design: Kryssy Wright, Costume Design: Heather Klar, Technical Director: Bradley Schmidt, Production Stage Manager: Seth Morgan, Sound Consultant: Michael Bogden, Acting Company: Tracy Hostmyer, Joe Osheroff, Tori Davis and Garrett Lee Hendricks