In Sean Chandler’s new play Running, now playing at The NY SummerFest, politics are at the forefront. As secrets that are held are disclosed, this play hits the mark.
A couple of years ago closeted, married candidates were being outed in a very public manner. Like most candidates we saw in the paper and in the news, mayoral candidate Ed Shirko (a winning David Leeper), has treated his children like props, while ignoring his wife (a wooden Laura MacLean). His daughter Cassidy (a wonderful and comedic Dineen Markey) has a sharp tongue and is not afraid to say it like it is. His son Justin (a fabulous Jay William Thomas) has left the family fold due to his views clashing with his father. At his mother’s insistence he has come back to help strategize his father’s campaign.
Turns out the reason Ed was ignoring his wife, was because he was seeking pleasure elsewhere, mainly in peep rooms where gay men went to be pleasure through a glory hole. When Ed is caught having a heart attack in the most inconvenient places, his campaign and his family are in jeopardy.
His running mate (a soft spoken Laura Leigh Carroll) wants to take over as the candidate, but Ed has other ideas. In the end Justin becomes the candidate of choice in more ways than one.
The direction by Mark Robert Finely is well done and adds to the overall journey. Morry Campbell’s sound and music design is first rate.
Sean Chandler is a playwright to watch. His dialogue flows and he has taken what could be a movie of the week and made it interesting.
The reason to see this play however is Jay William Thomas who has the “it factor” in spades. He makes his character not just 3, but 4 dimensional. His scenes with Ms. Markey are well done. Mr. Thomas allows us to see the humanity in loving a father, who has lied and bullied his way through life.
In the end this is a father and son play with politics thrown in.
Running: The NY SummerFest: 441 West 26th Street. You can still catch the last two performances Saturday the 24th at 9:00pm and Sunday the 25th at 1:30pm.