Watching Duty a chore
The Theatre Gym
A free theater class for the Theatre Gym: Acting is doing. Acting is not talking about doing. And acting is definitely not talking about going to talk about doing something.
This is, unfortunately, act one of Duty. Unspeakably boring. Quit talking about the possibility of creating a strategy to approach your son to dissuade him from joining the Marines. Just do it already.
Good playwriting is not laborious, over-explained exposition reminiscent of bad soap opera dialogue.
Good playwriting is not characters sitting around explaining their feelings. That is called therapy. Good theatre allows characters to perform actions that give us insight into their feelings. If the dialogue is nothing more than subtext spoken aloud, it leads to very wooden two-dimensional characters. In real life, people don't always say what they mean. The one time this was used to effect was when a conservative talk-show host baits his Muslim guest into losing his cool, then sincerely thanks his guest off the air for providing good entertainment. Cliché and predictable, but a refreshingly devious acting moment.
Good playwriting is didactic, but not preachy soapbox boring. I agree – I whole-heartedly agree – with the play's message. But does it make good theatre? No, not if it's written like a PSA for peace targeted at 9-year-olds.
Good theatre starts with the page; this was not Duty. Most of the actors are good. It's a shame they were members of an orchestra each given only one note to play.
read the review at KC Stage