Vincent Truman’s “The Observatory” centers on an off-kilter yet compelling idea. When teacher David Lockwood (Colin Fewell) and his wife, Sally (Kasey O'Brien) are offered the opportunity to triple their income by observing a suspected terrorist, they jump at the chance. The catch? The terrorist will be broadcast via hologram into their attic, and David alone must observe. He is forbidden to share details with Sally.
While the show is difficult to critique without resorting to spoilers, it’s safe to say that Truman smoothly navigates some almost unexpected twists, skillfully integrating necessary information without tipping his hand. I say ‘almost’ because the premise initially presented to both David and the audience strains credulity. It’s impossible not to suspect some sort of final reveal. Still, though the rising action takes a dubious turn, “The Observatory” is rescued by its last moment, which strikes just the right chord.
In addition to writing “The Observatory,” Truman is easily its most compelling actor. In a small role as Victor, the couple’s governmental point of contact, Truman is every inch the slick villain. Charismatic and droll, he owns his onstage moments without detracting from other performers. In addition to a satisfactory cast (including stand-out, Kate Lane) and a nicely stripped down production, perhaps the show’s key attribute is its tight focus on small moments and relationships. Vast sociological themes and lofty political perspectives may hang in the balance, but rather than pontificate, Truman directs our attention to what matters: people like us.