There is a fascinating and important play somewhere inside the world premiere of Michael McKeever's Unreasonable Doubt. It is a play that takes place in the den of a bereaved father who is exacting a terrible and mortal revenge upon the trial lawyer who helped his daughter's killer beat a rap. As that man — Ty Bosworth, played by Gordon McConnell – tortures his victim, they engage in a passionate, to-the-death argument about the meaning of justice. This is a great play, and it's too bad you can't see it — the torture and argument take place offstage. Inexplicably, McKeever set his play not in the den where the lawyer is being abused, but in the living room, where Bosworth and his ex-wife get together and argue about Bosworth's drinking habits.
David Mamet's harrowing Oleanna might not seem like a play well suited to an outdoor venue like Pinecrest Gardens, where Dr. John's office is surrounded by palm fronds, and where his windy pontificating is sometimes interrupted by the screams of ornery peacocks. But it is — at least when injected with the verve of thespians as sensitive and talented as Bertha Leal and Greg Schroeder. Although set in academia, Oleanna is about the predator in all of us — the willful ignoramus ever-ready to form a mob, or the vampiric pedagogue who confuses shame for worship. Schroeder sweats his way through Max Pearl's kinetic production, as well he should: It's a jungle in there.
When the Sun Shone Brighter is all talk, no action. But what talk! In a series of arguments that might or might not be taking place in our protagonist's head, we see South Florida's perfect political animal (Cuban, anti-Castro, married, Republican, good-looking, young) squaring off against his hidden nature (gay, liberal, and harboring a very good reason to hate SoFla's more extreme anti-Castros). The political animal wins, but man, is it ugly. Actor Joe Domingues slicks up the politico with the buckets of sweat he pours on the stage; as his secret lover, Cliff Burgess gives the most nimble and intelligent performance of his career. With a mostly fine ensemble, they paint an almost-complete portrait of our state, with all its queasy contradictions. This is Florida at its most unsettled and mysterious.