By Debbie Kagy
Write Act Repertory presents the world premiere of Berlin Cowboys, a play based on the controversial exploits of the CIA in post-WWII Berlin.
Directed by Iris Merlis, Berlin Cowboys, based on an actual historical event, takes place in the Operation Center of a CIA base in the American Zone from 1957—1961. The story deals with the CIA’s attempt to dig a tunnel beneath the demarcation line to tap into the KGB’s communication lines with Moscow without being detected. Friendships and rivalries are forged both within the office and outside its walls with the people whose lives they are putting in danger.
The play opens in 1957 with a dark interrogation scene evoking the deception and filthiness of the era. The lighting, by Tom Meleck, does a great job of continuing those feelings by focusing the light on what is important and leaving the rest of the stage in darkness.
Jack Seal portrays Charlie Fitzpatrick well as the classic, reckless and entitled American cowboy unafraid of the KGB. Unknown to him, his headstrong subordinate, Lon Carlsdale, played by a bold Tyler Cook, is conniving for his job.
Throughout the play Ursula (Cindy Marinangel), the head of a Bordel, beautifully and sensually sings to the audience and the other characters reminding them of the era and her station in the world.
Marc Cervania and Rico Simonini do a great job of pulling the audience into their character’s plights of being stuck between two worlds full of deception.
Written by Willard Manus, Berlin Cowboys reminds you that in times of secrecy, you never know who you can trust.
Berlin Cowboys runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. through April 21. There will be an additional Sunday Matinee at 4 p.m. on April 22. The Write Act Repertory Theater is located at 6128 Yucca St. in Hollywood (off Gower, on the grounds of St. Stephen’s Episcopalian Church). There is free parking on Carlos Avenue in the adjoining lot, just south of the church. Tickets are $25. For reservations, call (323)469-3113 or visit www.writeactrep.org.