On the ‘Night of January 16th’
The early phases of Objectivism are communicated through this theatrical piece written by Ayn Rand in 1933. Her self-created philosophy emphasizes the individual over the state, which by self-definition sole interest is to itself, while the creative vision and tenacity of one person can shift the collective to great heights of realization and achievement. These heroes do not succumb by the usual parameters of social restraint, and by doing so force us to question our own motives.
This is a courtroom drama, a murder trial, as the victim was an industrial giant who played by his own rules. The defendant, his beautiful mistress, Karen Andre (played with eloquence by a charismatic Nancy Young). The prosecution has a solid case, but defense attorney Stevens’ (a brilliant Vern Urich) strategy is to bring to light the nature of the deceased life and how it affected everyone in its orbit. It plays on your feelings as well as your intellect, which was exactly what Rand had in mind. One leaves the show with an appreciation of her genius and a new way to use the power of reason and thought.
Charles Picerni’s direction is nearly flawless; each actor shines and portrays their character with poise and vibrancy. The beats of the tension are tight as a military snare drum. Kudos to Christine Cover Ferro for costume design, as the action is set in the early thirties. Although some catch phrases are dated, the scenario is piercingly topical. A must see.
Night of January 16th is showing at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in West Los Angeles, through November 14. For more information, visit www.theodesseytheatre.com.