Yankee Tavern thrills by Players Workshop
By Kate Rowland
TheaterYankee Tavern Wed, Feb 5–Sat, Feb 8, 8pm Mon, Feb 10–Sat, Feb 15, 8pm Sun, Feb 9 and 16, 5pm Teatro Santa Ana La Biblioteca Reloj 50A All seats, all performances: 150 pesos donation
Yankee Tavern, a thrilling play by Steven Dietz, opened Wednesday at the Teatro Santa Ana to great excitement. It plays Wednesday through Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 5pm through February 16. The cast—Sky Yeager, Carrie Haugh, Mick Diener, and newcomer to San Miguel, David MacLean—consists of experienced actors who are young, talented, and full of passion for this play. I sat down with director Michael Gottlieb, and two of the cast members, Sky and Carrie, to hear their views about Yankee Tavern.
Kate Rowland: Michael, what was it about this play that made you pick it for a Players Workshop production?
Michael Gottlieb: Author Steven Dietz has tackled a taboo subject—questioning the official story of 9/11—within a story of mystery and suspense. The characters are fascinating, the dialogue crackles and we feel the emotional impact 911 had on the country and on the individual. The show is funny, haunting and ultimately cathartic because it gives us permission to question and discuss issues without questioning one’s love of country.
KR: Michael, what excites you about the cast you have chosen for this play?
MG: In a nutshell?–Their talent, chemistry, camaraderie and commitment. The play is fierce and so are Carrie, Mick, Sky and David.
We said goodbye to Michael at this point, who had to see a man about a jukebox (come see the show and find out!); and continued the conversation with Carrie Haugh and Sky Yeager.
KR: What role do you play in the production?
Sky Yeager: I play Ray, who spends most of his time in the Yankee Tavern. He knows a LOT about the Starbucks logo, the moon landing, spore allergy attacks, and especially what really happened on September 11th, 2001…
Carrie Haugh: I play Janet, fiancée to Adam, the Tavern owner, played by Mick Diener. I have a good job, a Starbucks addiction and am starting to wonder about the truths in Ray’s rants and also the truths in my relationship with Adam.
KR: What interests you about your character?
CH: I think in the eyes of the audience Janet is everyman. She is hearing information for the first time like the audience. She is struggling to keep everything together. This play is ultimately about relationships. These characters are complex human beings with secrets
SY: Ray is the crazy conspiratologist who is actually crazy like a fox. He is trying like all of us, to not let loss and suffering keep him down. He will defend truth and justice in his own inimitable way, with humor and wordplay. And he talks to the dead and they talk to him…
KR: Has being in this production changed your views about 9/11? If so, how?
SY: The writer Steven Dietz said in an interview: “There isn’t a fact about 9/11 presented in the play that is not true…The facts are all from public sources, news accounts, transcripts.” And it makes you wonder about truth and how malleable it is.
CH: Having been in NYC for 9/11, I can relate to Janet’s teetering between believing Ray’s theories and so desperately not wanting to. I think it hasn’t changed my views but it has stirred the pot, making me wonder again.
KR: How will this production appeal to people in SMA?
SY: I think people will love this piece. The writing is great, the characters are unique, and there is so much room for interpretation.
CH: I agree. And the Santa Ana is intimate, which allows you to really feel the energy from the audience night after night. Each performance is different as a result of that.
SY: Yes, and the beauty, and terror, of live theater is that new discoveries will still be happening each night right in front of the audience!