CHAUTAUQUA - Whistle blower! Leaker! Muckraker!
All of these names are all over today's headlines. The term describes someone who makes public what someone or some business or government very much want to be kept secret.
The Chautauqua Theater Company is currently ending their full month of brand new plays with an examination of just such people. It's the second of the company's New Play Workshops: ''Muckrakers,'' by Zayd Dohrn.
The play has only two characters, and the lurid names from above, apply to both of them.
Stephen is a British celebrity of roughly 40 years of age. He is a character not unlike the leader of the Wikileaks scandal, who has won his fame by revealing secrets obtained from an unhappy service man, serving in Afghanistan. While on a speaking tour, Stephen has been invited home by Mira, an American political activist who is in her early to mid-20s.
The play opens with comedy. Mira offers Stephen a mattress on the floor of her Brooklyn apartment. Stephen has something more cozy in mind.
Stephen worries that government assassins are hot on his trail, and he scans everything in the apartment to make sure there are no hidden microphones there. At first Mira just seems like the typically iconoclastic young activist, but as the play progresses, her questions become more and more pointed.
The playwright addresses what happens when the leakers start hacking into each other's little kingdoms?
Playwright Dohrn is presenting his second play for workshopping at Chautauqua. His play ''Sick,'' in which a mother's fear of infections made her children miserable prisoners in her antiseptic home, was well received by local audiences.
Director Ethan McSweeny keeps a skillful balance. Both characters are believable, yet both have funny business which keeps the audience's interest beyond the political arguments. He is greatly aided in keeping things real by set designer Reid Thompson's very believable ramshackle big city apartment.
Actors CJ Wilson and Jessica Savage invested energy and emotion in their characters, and it was easy to alternately feel sympathetic to one and antagonistic to the other.
My only discomfort with the play was that when Stephen finally decided to come clean with Mira, she had played all her cards, and had left no incentive for him not to keep his secrets. Everything around that was believable, but it left a large believability gap in an otherwise well-written examination.
''Muckrakers'' will repeat this afternoon at 2:15 p.m. in the Bratton Family Theater, on the Grounds of Chautauqua Institution.