This riveting drama is set in a cell in Lebanon, in the 1980s, where three men – an American, an Irishman and a Brit - are being held hostage by a group of Islamic militants. How do they survive years in hell with gun-bearing fools whose goal is to keep them in a cage, shoot them if ordered and have fun watching them squirm? According to Irish playwright, Frank McGuinness - With defiance and imagination. Laugh in their faces, talk, argue, sing, embrace and fantasize – but never accept that you’re doomed.
Based loosely on Brian Keenan’s memoir of his harrowing four years as a hostage in Lebanon, this play is a lesson in living. We are witness to the games, the breakdowns, the heroic struggle, and, in the shadowy scene-breaks, time passes, clothes get shabbier, a man’s mind starts to unravel. Still the message is: Survive, Love, Hate, but always remember to Laugh!
Bert Emmett is extraordinary as the Irish journalist, goading, teasing, keeping the others alive; Lloyd Pedersen is poignant as the English professor trying to keep a stiff upper lip but usually failing, and Evan L. Smith is heart-breaking as the American doctor grasping at straws to retain his sanity.
Director Gregg T. Daniel brilliantly conveys the energy and black humor that keeps the men alive, and Gary Lee Reed (Set); Kim Smith (Lighting); Steve Shaw (Sound) and Elizabeth Nankin (costumes) capture the desolation.
Laura Coker produced for The Group Rep, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd. North Hollywood, through June 2. Tickets (818) 763-5990 or www.thegrouprep.com.