Bad Habit Productions’ SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME (playing through Nov. 16th) is a must see. When you hear it’s a play about three hostages held by Arab captors, you assume it’s another harrowing, ripped-from-the-headlines account of torture and inhumanity. There are so many television programs about kidnappings in the Middle East, that you could watch one every evening. I can’t.
SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME isn’t one of them…any more than THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION is just another prison movie. Frank McGuiness’ extraordinary play confirms the beauty and power of the mind to cope with the unthinkable…the resiliency of the spirit to bear the unbearable and the indomitability of the will to survive. Most of all, SOMEONE is a shining testament to the strength of friendship.
Director A. Nora Long’s remarkable production celebrates the humanity which cannot be broken as easily as the body. We never see the violence outside the clanking metal door because McGuiness is more concerned with how someone thinks, what someone does to keep his sanity…his humor…his resolve when hope wears paper thin. Long adds connective tissue to the play by having one long chain run through all their manacles. With one yank of that chain, the Irishman can annoy the American doctor by impeding his perfectly executed push-ups.
Sheldon Brown gives an elegant, heartbreaking performance as the cool American with the most accumulated time in captivity. Greg Balla is sensational as the feisty Irish photojournalist who almost gives up and Jeff Mahoney radiates kindness as the unassuming Brit, newly arrived in Lebanon to teach English. Mahoney’s tour de force as the seemingly helpless Chaucer professor lifts their spirits and gives them the courage to persevere. You won’t find better ensemble work anywhere around. Bad Habit Productions does it again!