Theater review: Terre Haute

Drew Hampton stars as “Harrison,” the character based on Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, in the Crossroads Theatre production of “Terre Haute” that took the stage at IRT on July 29, 30 and 31.

4 stars

Crossroads Repertory Theatre at Indiana Repertory Theatre,

Upperstage; July 29-31; directed by Dale McFadden. The theater company is from

Terre Haute, Indiana, but the 2006 play Terre Haute is about America, government and how humans can

connect anywhere. In it, playwright Edmund White imagines a series of

interviews between two characters very much like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy

McVeigh and Gore Vidal. The real-life American terrorist and writer never met,

but Vidal publicly empathized with McVeigh and the two corresponded. In the

play's fiction, the writer James interviews the killer Harrison in a Terre

Haute prison, a meeting that illustrates what the aging, intellectual

ex-patriot has in common with the young ex-soldier. They are both outraged by

American-backed assassinations and wars and the 1993 FBI siege in Waco, Texas.

Against an entrancing, almost sci-fi prison cell set,

Harrison (Drew Hampton) fairly glows in his orange prison jump suit and makes

the gray-suited James (Mark Douglas-Jones) seems like so much elderly dust.

They are a fascinating pair, young and old, in agreement and in conflict, and

strangely drawn to one another. I would have preferred a gentler arc, without

the obligatory fiery argument in the middle or the sexual implications at the

end, but overall Terre Haute is a

fascinating look at America and Americans.

Without defending violence, White bravely suggests that a

man doesn't have to be in the right to have a point of view, a perspective

worth hearing; 317-635-5252,