Men of Tortuga

Ashland Contemporary Theatre presents a rehearsed staged reading of the dark comedy “Men of Tortuga” by Jason Wells.  Directed by Sam Osheroff, the play features Don Matthews, David Dials, John Lambie, Josh Gross and Reece Bredl.

A shadowy cabal of businessmen plot to assassinate a despised political leader on the day of an important meeting.  As they progress, the parameters of the plan change, increasing the collateral damage.  Maxwell, a leader of the old guard, volunteers to sacrifice himself for the plan. Then Maxwell meets Fletcher, an young idealist with a “Compromise Proposal” designed to resolve all conflicts. Maxwell regards the Compromise as hopeless, but he develops a liking for Fletcher – a distressing fact when Maxwell learns that, if the conspiracy proceeds, young Fletcher will be among the dead.  As the scheme spins into complication, the plotters descend into suspicion, bloodlust, and raucous infighting; while Fletcher is drawn, inexorably, into the lions’ den.

Developed by Steppenwolf Theatre, “Men of Tortuga” is gripping, original and ferociously hilarious.  It is a tale of global politics, male power games and moral ambiguity that is superbly written without giving everything away.  As director Osheroff said in his offering: “this is the right play now.”

There are four performances at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way: Saturdays, April 15th and 22nd at 8pm and Sundays, April 16th and 23rd at 2pm.  Tickets are $15 and available at Paddington Station, Grocery Outlet and online at  ACT information line: 541-646-2971.

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Here is a bit more from reviewers about the play:

“Jason Wells isn’t giving everything away in his captivating new play Men of Tortuga. In addressing some serious contemporary issues, he creates a scenario where the audience has only a rough idea of what’s going on. And that’s just about the way it should be. In a crackling world premiere at the Asolo Repertory Theater, Wells tells a story of corporate greed, power, surveillance and the secrecy that increasingly pervades our daily lives. Wells and the Asolo cast grab the audience from the start…The play pulses with energy…” – Variety

“…Gripping…You’ll be hearing more about Men of Tortuga, a blistering new play about corporate and government malfeasance from a Chicago actor named Jason Wells (who turned in the best piece of writing all year from a playwright.)…On one level, Jason Wells’ elliptical drama Men of Tortuga is a genre-based thriller a la James Bond or Quentin Tarantino. But Wells is sufficiently skilled to dig deeper than that….taut sophistication…It’s a thriller and it’s thrilling.” –Chicago Tribune