Double meanings abound in Conviction, the new play by Carey Crim that tells the story of a high school drama teacher accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a young female student while directing her in Romeo and Juliet. The situation is framed from several points of view; all of them are within the inner circle of the accused. His wife, his son, his best friend, and his best friend’s wife make up the cast we see onstage, and together they try to pick up the pieces of their broken image of the Tom — the good husband and father, great teacher, etc. — that they thought they knew. He maintains his innocence throughout, but to discover whether or not he is convicted of the crime, you’ll have to go see it. And as for what the accusation does to his wife’s conviction that he is a good man, well that’s a different meaning of “conviction” entirely.
This play has undergone an interesting development. When Scott Schwartz, a frequent director at the Rubicon, was approached about directing Crim’s play here, it was with the idea that the same group of actors who had just given it a successful reading in the Rubicon’s Plays-in-Progress program would return to do the show. Schwartz, however, had just accepted a position as artistic director of the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York, and was obligated to produce something there in January of 2014. Sensing that there might be a wise agreement to be reached here, Schwartz and the Rubicon’s Karyl Lynn Burns crafted this rolling world-premiere event with two casts, one in Sag Harbor, where the show was a hit and got a very strong review in the New York Times, and one in Ventura, where the original reading had taken place. Although young Daniel Burns will reprise his role as Tom’s son from the production at Bay Street, the rest of the outstanding cast, including Tom Astor as Tom, Elyse Mirto, Joseph Fuqua, and Julie Granata, is drawn from the Rubicon’s deep pool of South Coast talent. Conviction runs now through Sunday, September 28. For tickets and information, call (805) 667-2900 or visit rubicontheatre.org