Ted Kaczynski Killed People With Bombs
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by David Allen

Ted Kaczynski Killed People With Bombs is not an old headline from your local newspaper. Itís the title of a new play by Michelle Carter. There is nothing romantic about the title. Though there have been some radical environmental groups that have tried to romanticize the Unabomber for opposing the destruction of wild nature, Carter cuts away the romantic to show her audience a terrorist who killed not out of some idealism but simply because he didnít like someone or out of revenge. In her play there is no room for idealism when innocent people are killed.

The play is full of irony and a dark humor that is sometimes too dark to laugh at. But it is this irony that gives the play its depth and life force. Kaczynskiís references to ďwild natureĒ in his published manifesto materialize into the ironic character Wild Nature played by Celia Shuman. Other main characters include Kaczynskiís mother (Anne Darragh), brother (Mark Rafael Truitt) and some of his victims that survived their explosive encounter with Kaczynski (Merle Kessler).

There is nothing sympathetic about any of the characters. Carter portrays them all in a harsh light. The mother tries to point out all the good things in her sonís character that only she can see.

Perhaps the only sympathetic character in this no schmaltz play is Kaczynskiís brother. After reading the Unabomberís manifesto in the paper, he recognized his brotherís writing style and alerted police. Riddled by the dual guilt of unknowingly sending his brother money for many years Ė money Ted Kaczynski probably spent on bomb making materials Ė and for ratting on his own brother, we canít help but wonder what it would be like to be in his position.

Those of you familiar with Carterís successful play Hilary and Soon-Yi Shop for Ties will recognize a similar satire in her current production, but this oneís cut on a darker edge. Perhaps the characters that survived one of Kaczynskiís bombs reveal the greatest insights in this play. Their comments, on their painful rehabilitation from the wounds they suffered from one manís selfish violence, makes a powerful statement against all terrorist acts.

For tickets or more information on this excellent production call (415) 441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org.

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