ROSWELL -- Georgia Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Robert Farley has been sitting on a time bomb since 1999. That is how long he has been holding the script for “Lying in State,” by Davide C. Hyer, a wicked satire of the political process that leaves both Red States and Blue states just black and blue.
As the title suggests, “Lying in State” suggests a state funeral and the state of politics in general. A venerable senator has just died in the midst of a re-election campaign, and the small world that orbited around the senator has now lost its sun.
The world goes downhill from there. There is the blue-haired ex-wife ready to return to harness for the senator’s big sendoff, and the most decidedly politically incorrect fiancée, a stripper superfluously named Buttons, who has some curious ideas about succession.
For Farley, it is the right play at the right time.
“This is very special to me, starting our 16th year at Georgia Ensemble and my 40th year in the theater,” he said. “I have had the script for this play for nine years, but I wanted to wait for the right time.”
With such a great deal of interest in this highly partisan presidential race and no incumbent, interest in politics could scarcely be higher. Farley says he thinks his wicked little play is just the thing to remind everyone not to take politics too seriously.
“When I got this play, I wanted to see if it was as good as I thought it was, so I gave it to my two best critics, [the late] Mary Smith, who always loved the theater and my wife, Anita. I could hear peals of laughter behind the door while each of them read it.”
Timing is everything in the theater, and the time for “Lying” is now, Farley said.
“I think it will give us some relief from all of the hype and the spin that goes on. And it really does play fair to all points on the political compass. They all get skewed the same,” he said.
Farley said he was pumped up about the cast as well. Atlanta actor William S. Murphey is a “comic genius”, he said. And GET’s own Tess Malis Kincaid (“Lion in Winter” at GET) is bringing her considerable talents.
But one of the real problems about writing political farce, is the politicians keep pushing the envelop of reality. From the days of Rep. Wilbur Means fishing an exotic dancer out of a fountain to John Edwards’ emphatic denial of tabloid stories of an extra-marital affair – oops, there is an update to that . . .
“Eventually, everyone gets picked on,” Farley said.