THE LETTER OF LAST RESORT (Tiny Dynamite and Inis Nua): A Thought-Provoking Satire on “The Crazy Strategy” of Nuclear Weapons

A Play, A Pie and A Pint—Tiny Dynamite’s affordable happy-hour shows that come in at under an hour and come with a slice of pizza and a beer (or another drink of your choice)—is back for its fourth season, with a series of four weekly offerings in October. The opening show, presented in association with Inis Nua Theatre Company, is THE LETTER OF LAST RESORT, Scottish playwright David Greig’s political satire on the absurdities of our atomic age. The 40-minute two-hander is preceded by Hear Again Radio Project’s entertaining fifteen-minute bonus reading of The Archers (episode #17176, by Adrian Flynn), a popular long-running soap opera on Britain’s Radio 4, referenced in Greig’s script.

The Letter of Last Resort by David Greig. Directed by Claire Moyer, with Adam Rzepka and Susan Giddings. October 2nd, 3rd, 5th 2014.

Adam Rzepka and Susan Giddings in THE LETTER OF LAST RESORT (Photo Credit: Emma Gibson)

The new British Prime Minister (Susan Giddings) is instructed by John, the Head of Arrangements (Adam Rzepka), that she must compose a letter to the commanding officers of the United Kingdom’s Trident submarines, only to be opened in the event that a nuclear attack has destroyed London (the cessation of the BBC’s Radio 4 and The Archers, with its millions of listeners, would provide proof positive that civilization had been obliterated!). Should she or shouldn’t she call for retaliation? The question is debated with provocative dark humor that highlights the paradox of stockpiling nuclear weapons as a deterrent to nuclear war, and the lunacy of mutual annihilation, should anyone be irrational enough to use them.

Directed by Claire Moyer, Giddings and Rzepka capture Greig’s abstract hypothetical polemics and sardonic wit with British civility, controlled emotion, and subtle sarcasm, as they logically consider the illogical issue of “The Crazy Strategy.” The tasteful set and dignified attire, in understated shades of brown, provide a telling contrast with their surreal realization that “the only rational thing to do is to be irrational.” It’s a brief but powerful production that is simultaneously smart, funny, and chilling. [The Red Room, Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. 8th St.] October 2-5, 2014; tinydynamite.org.

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.