The Best Man
by Gore Vidal
Directed by Joe Feldman
It is 1960, Philadelphia, where an unnamed political party is holding its nominating convention for an upcoming presidential election. The two main candidates vying for the nomination are William Russell (played by Vernon Poitras) and Joseph Cantwell (played by Matt Heath). Russell, an ex-Secretary of State, is a wit and scholar with high liberal principles, beloved of the eggheads and suspected by practical politicians. Cantwell, a senator, is a ruthless and hard-driving younger man, a dirty fighter who will let no scruples stand in the way of his ambitions. And then there is Arthur Hockstader (played by Philip J. Shortell) – an ex-President who loves politics for its own sake, admires a rough and tumble battler more than a chivalrous one, and is determined to have the final say in the selection of his party’s candidate. The political war rages back and forth with escalating tension and drama until a shocking turn of events blindsides everyone. Intertwined amid the action are touching and poignant subplots that detail the loving and unloved wives of the candidates, Alice Russell (played by Colleen McClure) and Mabel Cantwell (played by Ronda Lewis).
Author Vidal is masterful in presenting this brutal competition with compassion and complexity. The Best Man is a play with no absolute heroes or villains, as much as we might like it to be so. And that is what makes it not just a powerful piece of theater, but also an accurate reflection of the moral ambiguities faced by those who quest after power, and the differences between real leadership and mere image. Does The Best Man win?
The Adobe is thrilled that Joe Feldman, after a long hiatus from the stage in order to write plays for young actors, is returning to the Albuquerque theatre community, to direct this multi-award-winning play. Joe considers this play to be “remarkably prescient in its description of our current political climate”.
Other members of this sterling cast of Albuquerque’s fine actors – David Bommarito, Brian Jackson, John Lopez, Frank Melcori, Ashley Reid, Linda Williams, Harry Zimmerman.
The Best Man opens Friday, September 30th and plays 4 weekends through Sunday, October 23rd, 2016.
9813 4th St. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114