What exactly is Senator Hanford Drake (Fred Anthony Marco), wishing for? Is he wishing that he had never married Sarah (Renee Bang Allen) who has decided to “out” her husband on the eve of his re-election campaign? Is he wishing that he had never fallen in love with Professor Lake (Peter J. Crosby), his secret lover (married and divorced with kids) and best friend for twenty years and that together they could run away to Italy once again to be free where no one knows his name? Is he wishing that his mother, Catherine (Carolyn Seiff), who has gathered all – staff, wife and son – to her Southern estate to try to come up with some solution to this political and personal mess would mind her own business? Some very intriguing questions broached by playwright Lawson Caldwell.
There seems to be too many issues going on for a 75 minute play. Is it a drama or a comedy? Or a farce? Mostly dramatic, bordering on melodrama. With some comic moments inserted for the maid, Dora (Loni Ackerman), who seems most of the time to be an outsider that has drifted in from another play performing down the hall at the Abington Theatre Arts Complex. She is fun but doesn’t belong in this play.
After Sarah, the wife, has opened her huge can of worms exposing her husband to the media that he is gay she then tries to blackmail him into staying with her, despite his wanting a divorce, for all the wrong reasons. She is totally unsympathetic. And annoying.
Then we get the Senator’s younger aide, Wilson (Eric Rubbe). As it turns out he is gay too. And secretly having a thing with Tom the Top (Scott Raven Tarazevits), another member of the staff. There is a female on staff, Elise (Samantha Ives) who spends most of the time talking to her boyfriend via cell phone. Perhaps her boyfriend is secretly a girlfriend. Who knows? Who cares?
I could not accept the twenty year affair that the wife knew nothing about – well yes she did, some time back but chose now to open up about it, perhaps getting a book deal out of the whole sordid affair? As a guest in his mother’s home the Senator shares his bed with Lake and they look at I Love Lucy reruns in the middle of this crisis while his wife, mom and maid look at old wedding photos in preparation for their son’s upcoming wedding. Raney (Timothy Mele), the son, makes a late appearance. At first, reluctant to accept the whole situation but within seconds dad and son are having a hug fest. All the while the media is chomping at the gates, hungry for scandal. The denouement is just as hard to digest as all the exposition.
In any event, this Festival is the place for playwrights and directors to learn their craft. For actors to be seen and hopefully learn what works and what does not. It is a learning process. To quote from a Barbra Streisand recording, “There are no mistakes, just lessons to be learned.”