Buoyed by the success of their sold-out comedy Adventures in Mating
at last year's Fringe Festival, Merely Players returned to Indy for one weekend to premiere a very different show. In Graham Farrow's Pure Morning
, strangers in a hotel become vigilantes seeking vengeance for their own tragic lives. They get an unexpected target when they discover the new U.S. president is planning a surprise visit to the small Southern town. There are moments in Act 2, when a maid, a doctor and the town loser rile each other on to do the deed, that Farrow captures the frightening, runaway heat of shared desperation. What precedes it, however, is an hour of never-would-have-happened conversations between mere acquaintances. Their therapy-like life summaries become podium speeches about what's wrong with this country -- low sales, the Iraq War, the FDA and loved ones who die. Outside of the conspirator's loop, Farrow inserts an unrelated duo: the Hollywood starlet who beefs about her overwhelming celebrity and the agent who is bereft by gay marriage bans. Farrow, who was present Friday night, claims no allegiance to any political stance and it doesn't matter. Partisanship didn't kill this show. Exposition did. www.merelyplayers.org.