“Tragic” is a Great Event

Review by Michael Edmund
Craig Wright’s witty and insightful Recent Tragic Events is currently being revived at Tongue in Cheek Theater Company, which previously produced it in 2009.  Despite the fact that it deals with the day after 9/11, it doesn’t feel remotely dated.  It probes the reactions of five individuals living almost 1000 miles away from New York and Washington.  
It was originally done in 2003 by Playwright’s Horizons, but unlike other plays dealing with that fateful September day, Recent doesn’t preach – nor does it aim for the heartstrings.
Waverly, wonderfully played by Jaya Tripathi works in Minneapolis in advertising and is having a blind date with Andrew, a manager of a Airport bookstore, played by Matt Gibson as a nervously twitching man who manages to get the audience sympathy).
Waverly’s twin sister may or may not have been one of the 9/11 victims.  To say more would give away the twists and turns of this fascinating play. The other characters include Waverly’s musician boyfriend, Ron (William Douglas Turner – funny in a menacing way), his overnight guest, Nancy (Jake Lipman who says more with a glare than most other actors with their entire bodies) and a fifth character – who stands away from the action (Loralee Tyson – very funny).  A puppet who is a well-known author also figures in the second act.
Ms. Lipman doubles as the director and her direction is flawless.   The timing of all the actors couldn’t be better and the evening goes quickly.  Despite the many laughs provided by Wright, this is definitely not a comedy.  It’s a gentle mediation of fate verses free will – and after 17 years, Wright’s play still feel relevant and important.

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