MY DAY:  The Last Lifeboat

Unlike the Titanic itself, playwright Luke Yankee‘s brilliantly conceived, THE LAST LIFEBOAT, produced by the ever reliable Dayton Theatre Guild, not only stayed afloat, it lifted out of the water. 

All the planets and stars were aligned: playwright (who was in attendance), director, cast, artistic team, DTG, and a first class audience.  It just felt “right.”

Bruce Ismay


The much maligned owner of White Star Lines, Bruce Ismay, who escaped in the last lifeboat, was finally afforded the opportunity to vindicate himself through Mr. Yankee’s tight, adept voice, and finely tuned pacing, both in writing, and the direction.   

By intermission, I was Googling Luke Yankee, Ismay, and other characters, too impatient to await the next act to fill in the gaps my brain craved.  The playwright molded such a 3-D character that my chest and stomach tightened when I feared Ismay might put to use a family heirloom (no spoilers from me!).  

Florence Ismay


One particular character, Ismay’s wife, Florence, held me in her grip as she evolved so smoothly, yet powerfully, throughout the two 50-minute acts.  The awkward debutante, early in Act One, transformed into a confident, warm butterfly, much like another woman of her era, Eleanor Roosevelt.  I truly loved this character. 

Jeff Sams led a tight, ably dedicated troupe through a concise maze of scenes, that for a less capable director might have proved disastrous.  Mr. Sams, a theatrical staple throughout the Miami Valley, demonstrated his director’s mettle. 

My only concern was in the use of the thrust stage when actors did not utilize the space as with theatre-in-the-round.  At times I felt cheated that I’d paid admission to see the sides, and backs of heads as they addressed the center audience section. 

This was my first visit to the new facility since DTG moved from its long held Salem Avenue location.  The facility is outstanding!

Seeing the assembled talent, strong direction, extraordinary costuming and wigs, and the sense of professionalism not always comprehended by most community organizations,  it made me miss the fine work of DTG.  In the busy years of raising sons, followed by a three-year hiatus of focusing on my self, I allowed DTG to disappear from my neglectful radar, and for that I apologize. 

Luke Yankee, playwright THE LAST LIFEBOAT

The highlight for me was the Q&A with the playwright and director immediately following the production.  Mr. Yankee is one of the most interesting, engaging fellows, and I loved listening to his speaking voice as much as I did his description of his process of writing this play.  Marvelous. 

Luke Yankee with his mother, actress Eileen Heckart


And on a side note, I learned Luke Yankee is the son of famed, Oscar-winning actress, Eileen Heckart

How captivating was this production?  

My seventeen year old son spent the short drive to Tanks, and then a good 45 minutes discussing the characters, the plot, and tidbits from the Q&A.  

As a fellow thespian, thank you!

As a dad of a new son who loves theatre, THANK YOU!!!

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s