Gamm play searches for truth through historical fiction

Theatre Review by Don Fowler
Posted 9/20/22

Director Tony Estrella has gathered seven outstanding actors to tell a haunting tale of truth and reality over the course of 90 years of Russian and Polish history.

Rajiv Joseph’s epic play, …

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Gamm play searches for truth through historical fiction

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Director Tony Estrella has gathered seven outstanding actors to tell a haunting tale of truth and reality over the course of 90 years of Russian and Polish history.

Rajiv Joseph’s epic play, “Describe the Night,” begins with two characters, a writer and a soldier, attempting to describe the night.

Isaac Babel (Michael Liebhauser) is the revolutionary writer who meets up with Nikolai on the Russian front in 1920, gets into a heavy conversation about truth and reality, setting the tone for the next 90 years of history.

Sixty-nine years later, we meet a KGB agent who falls in love with the woman he is spying on, ending disastrously.

Estrella has discovered a number of talented actors to fill the challenging roles, none better than Jeff Church as Vova. Church has several outstanding credits to his name at Burbage, Wilbury, Trinity and Gamm.

His scenes opposite the news reporter (Donnia Hughes) are tense and physical.

The play requires our careful attention as it switches characters and time periods. It helps if you arrive early and read Estrella’s piece in the program.

Playwright Joseph uses real and fictional characters, playing with truth and fiction just enough to make us stay alert.

“Truth is what happened” we are told. But two people can observe an action and see it differently, so what is the truth?

A found diary is important to the outcome of the play, and it takes nearly three hours to connect all the dots.

Michael McGarty’s set, with the Berlin Wall used effectively to represent a number of locations.

Once again, Estrella challenges his audiences to pay attention, seek out the truth, and apply it to our lives.

“Describe the Night” is at Warwick’s Gamm Theatre through October 9. Call 723-4266 for reservations.

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