The premiere production of “Right Lies” is not going to put the Gene Bua Theatre on the map. Paul Guay, who co-wrote the Jim Carrey pic “Liar Liar” (1997) and “The Little Rascals” (1994), has collaborated on a political drama that is as woefully implausible as it is inadequately staged. The fact that it took three minds to concoct this self-conscious sojourn through the rise and fall of Machiavellian politico Chris Arthur (Kevin Patrick Wright) only proves there is no safety in numbers. Director Lewis Hauser has not a clue how to make any of this overlong diatribe seem plausible and this lack of focus is transferred onto a hard-working but rudderless ensemble.
Defenseless Virginia Kessler (Jacee Jule) believes she is a successful marketing exec who is soon to marry Alec Samuels (Michael Hemeier), idealistic but angst-driven chief aide to handsome, low-key California gubernatorial candidate Arthur. Before she knows what hit her, malleable Virginia is manipulated into breaking up with Samuels and three years later finds herself the dissatisfied wife of governor — and soon-to-be presidential candidate — Arthur.
Virginia finally gets it into her head that maybe she should flee but the forces-that-be throw her into a one-night tryst with Samuels, which happens to fit quite nicely into the plans of the ever-resourceful Arthur. The static, final scene revelations of Wright’s Arthur are a testament to just how dramatically unbelievable and unrewarding the end of a play can be.
Jule (“Days of Our Lives”) struggles mightily to instill authenticity into Virginia’s plight but is defeated by the text, lack of direction, the wooden portrayal of Wright and the earnest but emotionally narrow performance of Homeier (son of ’40s film star Skip Homeier). In his one scene, Rick Felkins offers a credible outing as jovial political kingmaker, Bert Hanks. Ingrid Koopman’s nubile office worker and Tim Holtwick’s fuming Leland Kessler (Virginia’s dad) do not fare as well.
The community theater-level set design of Wright and Felkins is serviceable to the production.