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Off-Broadway Review: “A Blanket of Dust” at the Flea Theater Mainstage (Through Saturday June 30, 2018)

Photo: L to R - Angela Pierce and James Patrick Nelson. Credit: Sharon Kinsella.
Off-Broadway Review: “A Blanket of Dust” at the Flea Theater Mainstage (Through Saturday June 30, 2018)
By Richard Squires
Directed by Christopher Murrah
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

“All they need now is to find an enemy.” – Senator Walter Crane in “A Blanket of Dust”

After her husband Sam was killed (murdered?) when the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, Diane Crane (Angela Pierce) becomes appropriately obsessed with finding out who was responsible for the destruction of the Towers. Unconvinced that it was a foreign adversary or a clear act of terrorism, Diane becomes more convinced the horror was somehow the responsibility of the government of the United States to advance its own interests or to justify Islamophobic politics. This is the "stuff" of Richard Squires' “A Blanket of Dust” currently running at the Flea Theater Mainstage.

Like her 5th Century BCE sister-in-arms Antigone, Diane’s stubborn loyalty to her brother and her unwillingness to defy the government leads her into a dangerous conflict with FBI Agents Sturgis and Staulk (Kelsey Rainwater and Peter J. Romano), DC neocon policy operative Jim Mason (Joseph Dellger), Former Director of the CIA Adam Black (Brad Bellamy) and his wife Esther (Peggy J. Scott) all who accuse her of conspiracy against the government and attempt to silence her. “Burying” her husband’s memory and honoring his life prove to be difficult and life-threatening.

Supported by her parents Senator Walter Crane (Anthony Newfield) and Vanessa Crane (Alison Fraser), her brother Charlie (James Patrick Nelson), longtime friends Andrew Black (Tommy Schrider) and Justice Department Attorney Melanie Hobson (Jessica Frances Dukes), and DC Attorney Gideon Levy (Brennan Caldwell), Diane – over decades – pushes back against the accusations and threats and is determined to find out who murdered her husband whatever the cost.

Under Christopher Murrah’s deft direction, Angela Pierce leads a brilliant ensemble cast whose intricate conflicts drive a mysterious and often challenging plot with enough twists and turns to keep the audience members in suspense and keenly aware of their own political commitments and doubts. Each member of the cast stands out in delivering multi-layered, authentic, and believable performances.

“A Blanket of Dust” raises difficult and enduring questions. Is there a deep state within the government conspiring to weaken the Constitution of the United States? What is truth and Is it possible to ever discover what the truth is in any given situation? What is trust and who can be trusted and why? Are there causes worth giving one’s life for?

Mr. Squires’ play is worth seeing and is especially relevant in the current political environment. Be prepared to have firmly held opinions questioned and loyalties deeply challenged. The blanket of dust created on September 11, 2001 has never lifted and perhaps never will. This play keeps the conversation alive and engaging.

A BLANKET OF DUST

The cast of “A Blanket of Dust” includes Brad Bellamy, Brennan Caldwell, Joseph Dellger, Jessica Frances Dukes, Alison Fraser, James Patrick Nelson, Anthony Newfield, Angela Pierce, Kelsey Rainwater, Peter J. Romano, Tommy Schrider and Peggy J. Scott.

The creative team includes Brendan Boston (scenic design), Christopher Metzger (costume design), Daisy Long (lighting design), and Jim Petty (sound design). Elizabeth Ann Goodman serves as production stage manager. Production photos by Sharon Kinsella.

“A Blanket of Dust” runs at the Flea Theater Mainstage (20 Thomas Street, NYC 10007) through Saturday June 30, 2018 on the following schedule: Mondays through Saturdays at 7:00 p.m., matinees Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. No shows Sundays. Tickets at $20.00-$40.00 are available at www.ablanketofdust.com or by calling Ovation Tickets at 866-811-4111. Running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes without intermission.

Photo: L to R - Angela Pierce and James Patrick Nelson. Credit: Sharon Kinsella.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Posted by David Roberts on Friday, June 22, 2018