Edmund White’s “Terre Haute” At Crossroads Repertory Theatre

A character in Edmund White's "Terre Haute" is modelled after Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh. White says the character was and remains a mystery.

Event Information

Terre Haute

by Edmund White, directed by Dale McFadden


Crossroads Repertory Theatre; Indianapolis Repertory Theatre

June 25-27, July 15 and 21, 2010 at Crossroads; July 28-31 at the Indianapolis Repertory

Edmund White’s play Terre Haute is coming to its namesake city. The Crossroads Repertory Theatre production is a taut, accomplished and involving performance, directed by Dale McFadden.

In The Days Before ‘Dead Man Walking’

The two characters are modeled on the Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was executed in the federal prison in Terre Haute, and the writer and critic Gore Vidal. The drama presents Vidal visiting McVeigh during the days before his execution. (In fact, although Vidal did express sympathy and they communicated in letters, the two never did meet.)

Mark Douglas-Jones plays the journalist who’s just come back from a self-imposed exile in Paris to learn the McVeigh character’s story. He’s an aged, wily writer who becomes caught up in the bomber’s story despite his best attempts at keeping his professional distance. Douglas-Jones has his character down pat; he never misses a beat.

An All-American

Drew Hampton plays the character based on McVeigh. In Edmund White’s characterization, he’s an all-American boy; Hampton delivers. Part of the mystery of Terre Haute is just how normal the McVeigh figure seems to be. Nothing about him seems in any way abnormal, except perhaps his belief in an international conspiracy, and his mad fixation on phrases like “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with blood.” He was and, in the play, remains a mystery.

A Cage Match

As the Vidal and the McVeigh character spar, Douglas-Jones circles Hampton, who’s caged in by Linda Janosko’s evocative set. As one orbits the other, they enter a second story. The journalist’s touching series of revelations recall a young lover, whom he identifies with the young man. As it works out, real tensions develop. The drama wraps with a strange and touching moment between the two men.

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

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