Everyone in Warrior Class is trying to win. "Some of them realize that there are very dire consequences to not winning earlier than others. There's lots of machinations, lots of moves and positionings to be at the top," says playwright Kenneth Lin, who's about to see his latest work performed at the Alley Theatre as part of the New Play Initiative.
"They're all warriors int his play. That's the great thing about writing about politics. It's sort of like controlled war fare."
Last time Lin was in Houston, it was to see his Intelligence Slave debut here. Now the writer, currently on a roll with his work with his televised House of Cards, will be back more sporadically to see his latest, a political drama, performed.
The story concerns a young rising star in the Republican Party, Julius Lee a New York assemblyman, who, on closer examination, may have a skeleton in his closet - a relationship he may not have handled all that well when he was in college.
After his vetter, Nathan Berkshire, talks with Lee's former girlfriend Holly Eames, suddenly the next best thing might not be that after all.
"When I write a play I try to figure out a fundamental problem that the people that embody the play need to solve for themselves, Lin says. "In Warrior Class you have a politician who doesn't quite understand how to fit into the world in which he's been placed. Can he continue to be himself while being trained to fit into the world?"
As a playwright, Lin says, he's always been interested in what people do and say and a study of politics is a natural outgrowth of that. "When you study people and the problems that arise from society and humanity, you eventually become interested in how that society is organized. And that's government and that's politics."
"It happens from time to time that there is a person who gains political prestige and capital without really knowing how to play the game But because our politics are so deeply tied to money now they have to keep him around because he's bringing in donations. . How do they get him to play ball. When do they decide that they are going to have to sacrifice him because he won't play ball. "
All the leads in this play are newcomers to the Alley Theatre. Nick Maccarone plays Julius Lee, Vito D'Ambrosio plays Nathan Berkshire and Caroline Hewitt plays Holly Eames.
"I like all of my characters I think they are all deeply human. They've been placed in situations in which they feel they have to fend for themselves," Lin says. Audience members will have the chance to ask themselves what they would do if they were suddenly placed in a position of power, he says. Warrior Class opens May 8 and runs through June 2 on Neuhaus Stage at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. For information call 713-220-5770 or visit alleytheatre.org.
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