The Plot – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

In any negotiation, everyone comes to the table with an agenda, what they are willing to fight for, what they are willing to forfeit, and what is sacred and cannot be changed. Whether the confrontation is in a sandbox, over the possession of a blue dump truck or in a boardroom where the fate of a multi-million dollar project hangs in the balance, the participants are not always willing to bargain to an acceptable agreement.

In the world premiere offering of “The Plot” by Will Eno at the Yale Repertory Theatre until Saturday, December 21, we meet people who for one reason or another are interested in the fate of a small plot of land, a graveyard.

For Righty Morse (Harris Yulin), it is a place for him to escape, a source of peace and serenity, where he can be himself and commune with nature. It also doesn’t hurt that his wife Joanne (Mia Katigbak) allows him space to be himself without pretense. She is preoccupied with their finances and living arrangement and wants more for them in the later years of life. Time is running out if they are ever going to reach their golden years with happiness and security.

Righty feels so much at home in the tiny cemetery that he has had a gravestone erected as his final resting place. The fact that he has failed to include one for Joanne beside him soon becomes a reason for contention between the old married couple. Into this intimate and quiet world invade a trio of strangers: an environmentalist Grey (Jimonn Cole) who is concerned the land be respected and put to good use and two developers Donna (Jennifer Mudge) and her irascible boss Tim (Stephen Barker Turner) who is as contentious as she is accommodating. They want and need the land and must convince Righty and his wife to relinquish it.

All Tim cares about is the bottom line and how much profit goes into his pocket. He is willing to string along the affections of Donna as it suits his purposes, forgetting he is married when it meets his needs. What will happen when the fate of the plot of land comes under the microscope? What deceits and truths will emerge? How will everyone’s or anyone’s needs be met?

Oliver Butler’s direction will keep you guessing as to who will be the ultimate winners of the negotiation game. Sarah Karl as scenic designer creates a clever playing field for the action.

For tickets ($26-79), call the Yale Rep,1120 Chapel Street, New Haven at 203-432-1234 or online at Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Come root for your favorite pawn as each player in the game tries to finesse themselves to victory and take the prize: the plot of land in question.