Edge Theatre, winner of an Audience Favorite Award in Fringe ’11, presents two new one-acts by Jim Tommaney – “Then” and “Now” – both are political comedies. “Then” is based on transcripts detailing the total breakdown in communication among Navy, White House, and Department of Defense officials that hurtled us into the Vietnam War.
In “Then”, White House transcripts, plus phone conversations that the Navy recorded, add revealing details that illuminate the personalities of LBJ and McNamara, as well as of key naval officers. Seldom has the “fog of war” been more at work, as sheer incompetence on all sides led to misreading an intercepted North Vietnamese message as referring to an attack on August 4. The message, however, had been recorded and received before the alleged attack, and referred to an Aug. 2 incident. There was no North Vietnamese attack on Aug.4, yet this intercepted message was the basis for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave LBJ a blank check to attack North Vietnam.
In “Now” an Alien suddenly appears in Grand Central Station in Manhattan, and, protected by a force field, resists attempts to capture him. The Alien’s mission is to save Planet Earth, but it looks as though this is going to be more difficult than the rulers of his home planet, Arkturia, had predicted.
Edge Theatre has produced over 140 plays in South Florida and ten in Houston. Jim Tommaney, its artistic director, has written 25 plays, most of them produced to audience acclaim. He is a theater and art critic for the Houston Press. In “Then”, Houston trouper Jim Salners, who has had starring roles at Main Street, Texas Rep and Country Playhouse, portrays President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Roy Hamlin, who has performed all over town and is directing “Nunsense” at HFAC, portrays Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. In “Now”, Aaron Echegaray, who this year starred as both Hamlet, Oberon, and D’Artagnan, portrays a powerful Alien who seems to know the future of Planet Earth.