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aywright Nat Colley has written an intelligent and original envisioning of the events around the assassination of President Kennedy. Unfortunately, the structure of the piece--with its copious blackouts and scene changes and extraneous presentational readings--mutes the power of Colley's narrative and the subtle themes he explores. Colley has essentially bundled most of the major conspiracy theories into a single evening with remarkable clarity. The conceit of the piece is that a Secret Service agent, Wagner (David Shofner), is assigned by Lyndon B. Johnson ( Michael Merton) to conduct a back-channel investigation of the assassination. Acting on Johnson's authority, Wagner investigates many of the people who had the motive and the means to carry out the murder, including Sam Giancana (Howard S. Miller), Aristotle Onassis (Miller), the Russians, the Cubans, and even Jackie Kennedy (Carolyn Hennesy). While the premise of this private investigation apparently has no basis in reality, it provides a useful dramatic device to explore the murky world of mobsters, Communist agents, jealous lovers, and others on the fringe of society, including Lee Harvey Oswald (Scott Connell) and a mysterious aide-de-camp of both JFK and Jackie, named Senechal (Michael Dempsey). Through the gumshoe probings of Wagner, many of the tantalizing connections between the various conspiracy theories are unraveled, mostly in the vein of a dime-store detective novel. Colley's main point, however, is more subtle. Although Oswald may have acted alone in killing the president, no one ever acts alone in life. Every player in JFK's life, asserts Colley, including his family, the mob, the Soviets, and the Cubans, was part of the drama that culminated in his death. Even the idea that his wife or JFK himself may have been responsible for the assassination is launched in Colley's drama. While it certainly bears little relationship to history, as theatre it is intriguing. The production benefits from fine performances by Hennesy, who does a marvelous turn as a Soviet agent, and Dempsey, who is mysterious and appealing as Senechal. Connell is solid and convincing as both JFK and Oswald, and both Shofner and Shirley Jordan in her role as an investigator are excellent. Direction by Mary McGuire, while effective in shepherding the performances, stumbles in staging the multiple blackouts, which should have been more fluidly blended into the action. The scene changes slow the action considerably and extend the length of the evening for little apparent reaso
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