“I’m always looking for something different,” said Shawn Dooley about finding shows to direct at The Riverfront Playhouse in Aurora. Dooley believes he has found something different with Riverfront’s current production, “The Job.”
“I was looking for a script to direct, and more specifically, I wanted a dark comedy,” Dooley said. “The Riverfront has done much darker shows than this, and I’ve directed darker shows, so I think our audience is plenty ready for it. It’s not as heavy as the 9/11 conspiracy shows I’ve directed at Riverfront: ‘The Sleeper’ and ‘Yankee Tavern.’ The story and characters of ‘The Job’ appealed to me.”
“The Job,” written by Shem Bitterman, will be presented from March 14 to April 19 at The Riverfront Playhouse.
The two-act play centers on Frank, a down-on-his-luck con artist trying to go straight and get sober. He applies at an “agency” and a contractor places him in the perfect “job.”
When Frank realizes he has been hired to murder someone, serious moral dilemmas arise. Frank panics and subcontracts the “job” to his old partner, a slick operator who is now a successful shyster evangelist.
“There are deals, sub-deals, and counter-deals,” Dooley said, “as well as changes of mind and changes of heart.
“The show has been described as a dark comedy, but the word comedy can be deceiving,” Dooley continued. “The subject matter is a bit dark and it has humor, but it’s not a belly-laugh type of comedy. The humor is subtle.”
But the play is definitely out of the ordinary.
“This show is very different than the British comedies, classics thrillers or melodramas that we do,” said Dooley about The Riverfront Playhouse repertoire. “These shows are great, and we have such a wide range of genres, but this show is a more contemporary. It also contains some adult language and may not be suitable for children or sensitive viewers. But our audience is very diverse, and it should appeal to anyone looking for something a little different.”
Dooley is taking a bit of a less-is-more approach with the set design for “The Job.”
“It’s three black walls, but there are several set pieces that the actors pass between to represent traveling from one location to the next,” he said. “I tend to gravitate toward abstract sets for artistic and logistic reasons.”
The cast of “The Job” consists of Bob Becker as Frank, Tim Curtis as John, Veronica Martinez as Mags, Thomass Dickens as Jim and Aaron Hoge as Marin.
Dooley is pleased with the way things are shaping up.
“I like working with a great script and a great cast,” he said, “and, in this case, I have both.”
♦ March 14-April 19
♦ The Riverfront Playhouse, 11-13 South Water Street Mall, Aurora
♦ Tickets, $15-$17
♦ (630) 897-9496