Odd to think that a play set in Victorian England should feel so timely, but that is that case with award-winning playwright, George Brant’s ANY OTHER NAME, a dark psychological thriller where the themes of marketing, branding, sensationalism, and identity theft feel right at home.
The play opens with Edward Ballard, a struggling young poet, entering the cell of a babbling filthy mental patient. Edward and his American wife, (the once well-to-do) Margaret, are on the verge of starvation and have moved to London with the hopes that Edward will make it big as a poet..and a plan to ensure his success. Just a hint: it may have something to do with the babbling madman.
Mr. Brant’s drama, which won the 2009 Premiere Stages Play Festival in NYC is intelligent, cynical, and disturbingly easy for 21st-century theatergoers to relate to. The Ballards have 2009-style financial problems. Edward’s prospective publisher, Andrew Maddock, seizes on every opportunity to appeal to the lowest common denominator of public taste even if it means stretching the truth. “There’s no market for truth,” he tells Edward.