An Error of the Moon
This imaginative work about Edwin and John Wilkes Booth is undermined by its lackluster leading performances.
Creatore draws inspiration not only from the historical record for the play as he charts the relationship between the brothers, but also from Shakespeare (particularly Othello) as he attempts to make sense of the events that preceded John Wilkes' assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
The play begins at the moment just before Edwin proposes to the woman who would become his wife, Mary Devlin (Margaret Copeland), and continues through to the point of the assassination, recounting not only the brothers' acting careers, but also John Wilkes' Southern patriotism and Edwin's reexamination of his marriage.
Heger certainly cuts a striking figure as the acclaimed actor, but in his attempts to capture the grandiosity and musicality of Booth's style, the actor's portrayal becomes overly wooden and melodramatic. Looking nothing like the dark brooding John Wilkes Booth that theatergoers have come to know from photographs in the history books, Veenstra nonetheless charms with a youthful and impetuous demeanor. But he fails to convince when revealing John Wilkes' darker side or when the character talks about his patriotism for the South and disgust with Lincoln's policies.
As Mary, who was once an actress herself, Copeland delivers a muted and sympathetic performance that sparks beautifully when Mary can no longer stand Edwin's jealousy. The fourth member of the ensemble, Brian Wallace, delivers fine work in several supporting roles, most notably a dolt of a companion to John Wilkes.