Belber’s 2005 play follows world-weary Delaware journalist Rick Dayne as he rediscovers his zeal, working for the exoneration of death row inmate Darius McReele from a sixteen-year murder conviction. Darius’ magnetic personality makes him a darling of the media lecture circuit, leading to national attention and political viability. The local Democratic Party taps McReele to challenge the Republican incumbent for his U.S. Senate seat, and McReele in turn taps Dayne to be his campaign manager. When questions arise about McReele’s true culpability in the crime for which he has been cleared, Rick’s attempt to salvage his faith in humanity runs up against his all-too-human desire to win at all costs. The piece will maintain as its lodestar the vitally important lesson all citizens forget at their peril: that politicians serve merely as warped reflections of ourselves.
The Fab Marquee's Dianna Martin was enthusiastic but guarded about COItc's revival:
Considering the political climate and the tension, hope, and fear in the air with November 4th less than three weeks away, one might expect the theatres to come alive with political plays.
It is difficult, however, to find the gems that go beyond the generic squabbles of left vs. right; or attempts to re-create yet another Orwellian 1984; or yet another parody of the current administration. Few shows take the time to dig deeper and really develop character studies that portray what could happen on an even much smaller political scale, and the transformation that can occur to people when they try to do good - and are caught between that desire and the consequences that even the best intentions can bring.Conflict of Interest's production of McReele, written by Stephen Belber, is one of those gems. In the rough, but a gem nevertheless.
Presciently, Martin called out Roy's performance:
Roy Clary was a joy to watch, playing three different roles: the father of the murdered teen; the Democrat Party man; and the Republican Senator that McReele was running against. His ability to create three separate characters that were all very believable and very different was wonderful.
Theaterscene.net's Eugene Paul was a fan as well:
Stephen Belber’s disturbing political play, last seen uptown three years ago, resumes its life on the stage in these more than disturbing political days with a crisp, stripped down, new production that retains its edge and underlines its power to get under your skin, if you have any political morality or conscience left.