Recalling Ollie North

Serious theatrical experiences are in short supply during mid-July, but River Stage will go against the grain with a staged reading of Ollie North: The Fawning Version, a new play by Mark Stein with Frank Condon.

During the Reagan administration, then-Lt. Col. Oliver North engineered an arms-for-drugs swap, getting supplies to the American-backed conservative opponents of Nicaragua’s leftist government by cutting a secret deal with the right-wing Islamic leadership in Iran. The play takes place inside the mind of North’s famously good-looking secretary, Fawn Hall, who shredded documents (and smuggled others out of the office) to protect her boss. The plot explores not only the tension between the Reagan administration and Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government, but also the life of Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto Sandino in the 1920s and the life of William Walker, an American who took a private army to Nicaragua in the 1800s and became the country’s president.

Condon will direct; he is noted for his work with plays that have a sociopolitical context. Stein and Condon have collaborated before, including their work on the highly regarded Ghost Dance. The play will be presented as part of River Stage’s annual Playwright’s Festival of New Works.