Steven Dietz’s words keep circulating around this town. There’s his stage take on Dracula at UNO.  Now witness another Dietz mystery. It’s 2007’s Yankee Tavern, where the jukebox died strangely on 9/11. In that hangout, ever-flourishing American conspiracy theories have lives of their own, especially when a mysterious stranger enters the premises and states that that World Trade Center tragedy, not far off from where he stands, came about through nefarious complicity.

Evidently the bar owner has previously undisclosed hidden connections to international counter-terrorism. Wild card? Or expert? But then, what’s he doing dispensing beer? What’s in those glasses? What machines are hidden behind the bar?  Which answers ring true amid the four expounders in these intense conversations? Of course some conspiracy theories endure, have lives of their own, despite what seem like facts. Some of those ideas may remain outlandish. But, ask yourself, do you think our government always tells the truth? What is reality?  And what is fantasy? Uh-oh. Here we go with the questions.

“You will hear the millennium’s fresh ghosts rattling through the walls of the theater…and feel their unhappy gaze beaming from the tavern’s smudged, stained-glass windows, ” said Palm Beach New Times. And the Daily News called this “one helluva show by a superb playwright who has slyly fashioned an edge-of-your-seat thriller.”

In 2010, Dietz was cited eighth on the list of the Top Ten Most Produced Playwrights in America. His scripts are political (Last of the Boys,  God’s Country, Halcyon Days, Lonely Planet) and comic (Becky’s New Car, More Fun than Bowling, Over the Moon). Plus there are central themes about personal betrayal and deception (Trust,Private Eyes, Fiction, Rancho Mirage). You decide where this fits, if anywhere.

Circle Theatre takes this on. Amazingly, even with shoestring budgets, it has its feet on the ground and regularly presents true performing talent in complex, challenging stuff. 

Yankee Tavern plays Oct .16-Oct 31, First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass Street, Fri.  Sat. 8 p.m. Tickets: $10-$15.

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