Best known for his mild metatheatrics and wistful meditations on the emotional burden of WASP privilege, A.R. Gurney might seem an incongruous choice to dramatize 9/11 and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not to worry. Gurneys 2003 romantic fantasy carries nary a trace of political finger- pointing or even cogent analysis. When oil executive and inveterate ladys man Hartwell Clark (Don Schlossman) takes a diplomatic post in Israel as the new, Bush Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, he loses no time in arranging a liaison with old college flame Amira (Lauren Campedelli), a Palestinian Christian. Ignoring the reservations of lifelong friend (and ex-lover) Sally (Gretchen Koerner), Clark meets Amira only to find her fronting an offer from Hamas: Push their latest peace proposal in exchange for the plans to al-Qaedas upcoming strike on New York. Clark reluctantly agrees but is too late to avert 9/11 or save his job and marriage, when word of his Amira meetings reach home. Director Tiger Reel and a capable ensemble give the improbable proceedings a spirited production. But their efforts are continually undermined by Gurneys cloying conceit that the performance is actually a reconstruction of a lost 2003 text being staged in an unspecified future. The devices perspective allows the plays dubiously redemptive coda Clarks romantic reconciliation with Sally and his transformation into a messiah of world peace but at a cost of trivializing the convulsive horrors of the more recent past. Chandler Studio, 12443 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Dec. 7. (800) 838-3006.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Nov. 14. Continues through Dec. 7, 2008
Get the Events Newsletter
What's happening in town? From underground club nights to the biggest outdoor festivals, our top picks for the week's best events will always keep you in on the action.