It’s Not All talk

In these days of a gaping partisan divide in Washington D.C., Ensemble Theatre Company’s new production of Anthony Giardina’s “The City of Conversation” is especially timely. Though written in 2010, it digs into the roots of our current sad state of political affairs, evoking many moments of déja vu and some that will make the blood of democrats and republicans boil as it presents the arguments of both sides during three watershed periods: the waning of the Carter presidency, the battle over Ronald Reagan’s controversial Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, and the election of Barak Obama. The story begins during the time when political opponents fought during the day but took off their boxing gloves in the evening for convivial dinner parties, and centers on the family of ardent democrat and hostess Hester Ferris, whose son marries an ambitious “young republican” riding the “Reagan Revolution” with little time for compromise and an overwhelming desire to overthrow the established order. Chaos ensues and Hester is estranged from her son and grandson. A moving look at the personal costs of political (and ethical) convictions wittily written and uncannily au courant. Starring Meredith Baxter and Sharon Lawrence and directed by Cameron Watson, this play will lead to a lot of talk, and hopefully it will be civilized discourse that leads to more understanding and reconciliation. Tonight through February 25 at the New Vic Theatre: (805) 965-5400 or