note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
With the nightly news anchors falling all over themselves with reports of “pirates on the high seas” hijacking tankers, it would seem an ideal time for a play called THE OIL THIEF (at the Boston Playwrights Theatre through this weekend only). Joyce Van Dyke’s extended one-act offers a geological history lesson on petroleum set against a soap opera about a forty-something oil researcher (Melinda Lopez) who may or may not leave her long term relationship with a charming actor (Will Lyman) for a hot shot twenty-five year old (Sheldon Best).
BPT managing director Jacob Strautmann introduces the play by stressing that THE OIL THIEF is in development---so one presumes that Van Dyke may change the order of our heroine’s decision to secure clean water for the people of the Nigerian Delta, whose oil is being stolen right out from under their feet. As it plays out now, it doesn’t dawn on her until the last scene that she has the power to help. It’s awfully hard to find sympathy for a character who runs neck and neck with the oil wolves and then hems and haws about “just” being a woman.