Porrait in Terror 

The most despised person on the planet spurs new play.

In Osama the Hero, opening this weekend at Cleveland Public Theatre, a small factory town has had enough of the violence that’s plagued the neighborhood lately. So a local vigilante group pins the terrorist acts (which consist mostly of exploding garages) on a teenage boy who championed Osama bin Laden at his high school.

British playwright Dennis Kelly’s work obviously includes political overtones, but it doesn’t exactly point accusatory fingers at President Bush or even at the war in Iraq. It’s more a personal story about a boy, his alcoholic mother, and a terrified town dealing with things blowing up around them, says director Raymond Bobgan. “[There’s a] primal drive to feel safe and the compassionate drive to do something,” he says. Bobgan changed parts of Osama’s script (with the writer’s approval) to make it more relevant to U.S. audiences and a little less political. But in the end, the play asks viewers to make their own decisions about fear and sense of place. Says Bobgan: “The characters will lead the audience to the gaping [political] questions.” www.cptonline.org for more information.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Oct. 20. Continues through Nov. 3, 2007

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