by Denise Drews

This past Friday I attended the opening night for the performance Yankee Tavern (playing January 8 – February 7) at the Kavinoky Theatre.

I’ve been to Kavinoky a few times in the past and truly like the atmosphere. I’ve always enjoyed their performances. Joe Demerly, the Kavinoky’s marketing director, does a great job with publicizing the shows and his introductions before a performance – he makes you feel like he truly appreciates the audience.

It is nice at times to get out and about in our theatre community to witness firsthand a live performance. It is a bonus for me to share my experience with visitors when the question is asked: Do you know anything about it?

This play is based on conspiracy theories from the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Inside the walls of a crumbling New York tavern, a young couple find themselves caught up in what might be the biggest conspiracy of all. Steven Dietz’s acclaimed dramatic thriller is a fierce, funny and ultimately mind-bending work of theatrical power that grips you until the final word. The Palm Beach Arts Paper describes it this way: “Dietz is a master of smart dialogue and wily storytelling. He draws us in with characters that intrigue, but the stories they spin can do a number on our beliefs and leave us shattered…Here’s a toast to Dietz and his play, which should work its way through the nation’s new play network with the staying power of a juicy conspiracy theory.”

The tavern setting (for which I must compliment the set designer) reminded me of my youth. My grandmother worked at a similar place on Main Street near Virginia Street in Buffalo, and as a little kid I remember assisting her with different things in the kitchen. There were customers who frequented the bar area and knew how to tell stories. The character of Ray reminded me of a few of those guys.

On the ride home after the show I ended up questioning myself on some of the theories, so that means the characters did a good job and had my attention. All and all, I enjoyed my evening.

Ticket information can be found at www.kavinokytheatre.com.

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