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Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Pundit’ by Kim Moeller

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“The first law of punditry is the less you know, the easier it is to boil it down to a sound bite.”

That’s a quote from The Pundit’s title character, Peter Peters, an authority on, well, we’re not really quite sure – but he is an international policy analyst for a Washington think tank simply called The Center. His job, he says, is to be “all over the map.” Lusting after a nomination for an Under Secretary of State position, his only focus seems to be on doing whatever it takes to be the last man standing on the position’s short list. We enter Peter’s story as he sits down for an afternoon of television and radio interviews. After offering sound bites on a breaking news act of terror about which he knows nothing in a country he can’t even locate, Peter’s life takes a dramatic turn when the terrorist calls him on his cell phone.

If the dialogue rings true, it’s because writer and leading man John Feffer knows whereof he speaks. As a freelance journalist and now co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, he has been asked by the media to offer expert opinions on a number of subjects. Despite the facts that acting is not is “real” job and he never leaves his center-stage chair, Feffer effectively shows a range of emotion throughout the 75-minute show.

Actor Sean Coe in the role of the terrorist is the cast member who best uses his talent, the strong script, and tight direction from Doug Krehbel to create a compelling, three-dimensional character. Performances by the other actors (Matthew Ancarrow, Anthony Hacsi, Emily Morrison, Peter J. Orvetti, Sarah Daisy Splitt and Carol Spring) are also stellar. Even though most of the cast played more than one role, they were convincing, funny, understated, and it was never difficult to tell who was wh.

Krehbel’s direction makes the most of the small performance area and Video Director Maria Meriwether’s newscasts, displayed on the screen above the actors, contribute a strong dose of realism to the production.

The Pundit is a funny, thought-provoking, and ultimately tragic look at the shallowness of our political thought in a media-saturated world. While the Capital Fringe Festival offers many options, I suggest you get your tickets reserved now for one of The Pundit’s remaining performances. Today’s show was sold out and I expect the rest will be too.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to our Fringe Preview.

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