D.A.G. Burgos's Misconduct, produced by the Creative Artists Laboratory, deals with a timely subject that has transformed today's New York - the effects of police power taken too far. While Mr. Burgos tackles a sensitive issue that affects the very core of our society today, unfortunately the production didn't come close to matching the aspirations of the script.
Sarah Lord, an Internal Affairs officer, is assigned to investigate the shooting death of a homeless black man by four police officers. Aside from the usual controversy that's associated with the killing, one of the four happens to be the commissioner's son, something that doesn't bode well with the police brass. Officer Lord is not only ordered to investigate the murder but also to pin the blame on one of the more "rogue" cops, Frank, an officer with a history of suspicious conduct. However, through her examinations, Ms. Lord finds that the story is not as black-and-white as first thought, and that the men in blue will go to great lenghths to protect one of their "special cases."
Burgos wrote a good story with interesting characters and arcs, colored with punchlines poking fun at the state of race relations in today's society. His creation of a female black police officer investigating a group of white cops and the tensions that lie therein spoke volumes about his creativity as a writer. However, whereas Mr. Burgos sometimes succeeded as a playwright, his direction failed this performance. His actors didn't portray the intricacies required in such a story line, and ultimately, the play wound up being a jumbled combination of long, boring speeches and preachings rather than acting. Actors equipped with props that were laughable, running around trying to simulate a crime scene, were not only thoroughly confusing, but made the play look more like a silly comedy than a police drama.
The overall ineptness of the acting contributed greatly to the failure of the performance. It was truly an equal-opportunity effort - to critique each performance individually would not only be unnecessary, but unjust. Never did the actors listen to one another, instead delivering lines when their cues came up, sometimes so drably and monotonously as to make the play hard to watch. Critical lines were delivered with only a tinge of the necessary emotion, so the performance never evoked the tensions implicit in the script. The inadequate space also contributed to the failure of the evening. (Featuring Jacquelyn Marshall, Kim Carrell, John Reiniers, Robert Jason, Jennifer Barnhart, and Stephen Kelly.)
There was a non-existent set, and the performance didn't have any lighting, set, or sound designers.
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Copyright 1999 Sourabh Chatt