by Michael Howley
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
City Equity Theatre/Birmingham at Huntingdon: “Bully”
Theodore Roosevelt was an extraordinary and multifaceted man: statesman, historian, conservationist as well as a hunter, author of over 30 books, devotee of physical fitness, foreign affairs mediator, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Harvard educated family man, and the 26th President of the United States. He had an extraordinary network of friends & aquaintances from ordinary citizens to celebrities and heads of state, and a forceful personality that sometimes aggravated others.
Those of us who were privileged to be in his company at Huntingdon College on Tuesday night, in the person of Birmingham actor Alan Gardner, were given a lot more than a history lesson. We were in the presence of a man whose sensibilities to the world around him in the early 20th Century still resonate today.
The two act play, written by Jerome Alden and directed by Alan Litsey, is called “Bully! An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt” — and what a “bully” adventure it is. — For two hours, Mr. Gardner riveted the audience with an impressive catalogue of facts and historical detail delivered at an exhausting pace and with such verve and passion for his subject that simultaneously provoked analysis of the country and the world’s condition 100 years later.