If you had the chance to apologize for something you did that ruined another person's life would you? What if that thing was part of what you were expected to do for your job? These questions and other dilemmas lie at the heart of InterAct Theatre Company's second show of its 25th Anniversary Season. Assassin by local playwright David Robson, a co-production with Act II Playhouse, takes an intimate look at hero worship, regret and forgiveness while examining America's fascination with sports violence. With recent media attention being paid to football related injuries, past and present, Assassin is particularly relevant.
At a pre-season game in 1978, Jack Tatum, defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, made a hard, but routine tackle on New England Patriots' wide receiver Darryl Stingley. The hit left Stingley paralyzed for life. Assassin is a fictionalized "what-if" inspired by these true people and events. The taut-drama opens thirty years after a brutal on-field hit left a professional football player (inspired by Stingley) paralyzed for life and his on-field attacker, "the Assassin," (inspired by Tatum) battling diabetes and alcoholism, and seeking a televised mea culpa with his victim. But, what begins as a careful cat-and-mouse game between the retired football star and the now-quadriplegic's lawyer quickly spirals into a volatile evening of stinging accusations and startling confessions
"I wanted to be able to fictionalize the event and its aftermath. I didn't want to tell their story. The play uses football as a backdrop, a context, but its themes of redemption and reconciliation and facing one's demons are universal," states playwright David Robson. "I'm interested in the idea of being defined by one thing, as both men were."
"We live in an era where violence is entertainment," says Director Seth Reichgott, recently seen in Lantern Theater Company's New Jerusalem, "Who is really to blame when someone gets hurt if we, the audience, are asking for it? Assassin explores who's guilty, who's innocent, and how sometimes there isn't a difference between the two."
Reichgott will direct two talented and celebrated actors. Brian Anthony Wilson from HBO's The Wire plays the hard-hitting and maligned Frank and Philadelphia new-comer Dwayne A. Thomas as the smart and calculating Lewis.
The design team for Assassin includes Set Designer Dirk Durossette (Sylvia, Act II Playhouse), Lighting Designer James Leitner (Freud's Last Session, Arden Theatre Company), Sound Designer Ashley Turner, Costume Designer Maggie Baker (New Jerusalem, Lantern Theater Company), and Properties Designer Avista Custom Theatrical Services.
Assassin takes the stage at InterAct Theatre Company from January 18-February 10 with previews from January 18-22. Press opening is January 23rd. All performances take place on the Main Stage at The Adrienne at 2030 Sansom Street . Performances will be held Tuesday – Sundays. Tickets start at $20 and may be purchased by phone 215-568-8079, on-line at www.interacttheatre.org or in-person at the InterAct Theatre Company Box Office (M-F 10-6).
David Robson (Playwright) is the author of many plays including Playing Leni (co-written with John Stanton, Madhouse Theater Company), A Few Small Repairs (Painted BiRD Productions/Theater Catalyst), Man Measures Man (InterAct Theatre Company, Barrymore Nomination), After Denmark (Yellow Taxi Productions), Out of Place (Julie Harris Playwriting Award Finalist), and American Child (Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays Finalist). His short plays include Killing Neil LaBute (Intentional Theatre), Mel and Mee (Short + Sweet Festival, Australia), You Rang (Acme Theater Productions), The Speech and Ed Rex (City Theater Company), and Goons (Brick Playhouse). Cruel, Calm, and Neglected-four nights of his short plays-was recently performed by Wilmington's City Theater Company. David is recipient of the Hotel Obligado Audience Choice Award for New Work. Other honors include the Susan McIntyre Playwriting Award, the Panowski Playwriting Award (runner-up), and two playwriting fellowships and two grants from the Delaware Division of the Arts. Play development: Bated Breath Theatre (Hartford), Lark (NYC), White Pines Productions (Philadelphia), City Theater Company (Wilmington), Great Plains Theatre Conference (Omaha), Last Frontier Theatre Conference (Valdez, Alaska), Mid-America Theatre Conference (Kansas City, Missouri), Rebel Theatre (NYC), Skewiff Theatre (Belfast, Northern Ireland), and New Theatre (Coral Gables, FL). His plays and monologues are published by Smith and Kraus and Original Works Publishing. David is a member of the Dramatists' Guild and a former playwright in residence at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City. He is an associate professor of English at Delaware County Community College.