Review by Larry Murray and Gail M. Burns
Gail Burns: Barrington Stage couldn’t ask for better timing for the opening of this world premiere of Zayd Dohrn’s “Muckrackers,” a fast-paced play about the ethics and responsibilities of investigative journalists in the internet age. The leaking of National Security Agency surveillance activities by Edward Snowden is still front page news, Snowden has sought political asylum in China, and President Obama is “troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.”
Larry Murray: I agree it wasn’t the usual theatrical formula at all, it was a jigsaw puzzle with lots of different pieces all fitting together, and until they were all in place, you never really saw the full picture. So for me “Muckrakers” was partly a thriller, and partly a mating dance between two very interesting characters, both involved in investigative journalism and ferreting out secrets the government tries to keep us from seeing.
Gail: Dohrn has created two fascinating characters here. Mira is a graduate student in journalism at NYU, and Stephen is an investigative journalist who, like Snowden, has made public information that has international ramifications. She is putting him up in her crummy student digs somewhere in Brooklyn after he has spoken at and received an award from the University. While it is highly implausible that NYU would allow an award-winning journalist, particularly one whose life is in imminent danger, to be housed by a grad student, once you allow Dohrn the poetic license of that set-up, he provides 80 minutes of intellectual and sexual cat-and-mousery between these two intelligent individuals who are passionately involved in their work. The casting couldn’t be better. Kahan James and Kate Rogal embody Stephen and Mira to perfection. James maintains a wonderfully consistent British accent.