Oscar E Moore

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An Error of the Moon – Backstage with the Booth Brothers Off-B’way

August 31st, 2010 by Oscar E Moore

Andrew Veenstra & Erik Heger

Andrew Veenstra & Erik Heger

Luigi Creatore has concocted a melodramatic dreamscape scenario in “An Error of the Moon” that he calls “a speculation” wherein Edwin Booth (Erik Heger) the elder brother of John Wilkes Booth (a passionate Andrew Veenstra) perhaps explains, backstage in a dressing room of a theater in the 1860’s, why Johnny assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.   

Edwin’s story is told from his imagined viewpoint somewhere between fantasy and madness.  Somewhere in-between.  Director Kim Weild does a nice job of conveying this netherworld and we quickly see that both brothers have issues that could easily lead to violence.  The two actors portraying two actors look enough like each other to actually be brothers and that helps. 

Edwin, the older by ten years acting in the grand Shakespearean style that he was famous for and Johnny, the younger emoting in a more modern style.   There is a great sibling rivalry between the two which causes Edwin to doubt the faithfulness of his wife Mary (Margaret Copeland).  Is he the father of his daughter Edwina or the uncle?

The period costumes by Alixandra Gage Englund are fine.  The set (Steven Capone) more than fine.  And the video projections (C. Andrew Bauer) on the skewered set are excellent.  But there is nothing new or compelling about this brotherly love/hate political civil war saga as seen through the often drunken eyes of Edwin to merit a visit.

Unless you’d like to see some nifty swordplay (Rick Sordelet) – a “theatrical trick” using blood, and Mr. Veenstra as Johnny do an onstage quick change to replace his drunken brother as Iago with some non too subtle references to Othello mirroring the situation between Edwin and Mary.

Brian Wallace appears in many guises, hats and moustaches and finally brings the play to life as the person investigating Johnny who has a plan to kidnap the President and turn him over to Lee.  That is, before he decided to shoot him instead.

What is historical fact and what is speculation?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But it’s hardly entertaining or illuminating.  I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to “The Ballad of Booth” from Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. 

At the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row through Oct 10th.

www.AnErrorOfTheMoon.com           Photo:  Carol Rosegg

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