By Michael Block
Imagine Miss Bliss from "Good Morning Miss Bliss" and any of the "Law and Order" detectives coming together for a romance then a chat on morals. How do they work together? The answer is they really don't. In John Doble’s To Protect the Poets, a meet-cute between a GED literature teacher and a lonely detective leads to a romance where morality is put to the test. With a murder investigation as the backdrop, Doble examines rape culture and police brutality through varying lenses. Doble's text is interesting. It's part police procedural and part 90s sitcom that never really intertwines. It causes tonal confusion on the part of Doble and director Alberto Bonilla.
Though minimal, deciphering where in time Doble's text was played was a bit of a question. With talk of the electric chair and then a boom box as the source of music, was this play a modern commentary or one from the past? Cementing this is essential for the perspective and overall objective. None of the costumes helped to define this either so it’s really up to interpretation.
To Protect the Poets has a message we have heard far too often. But the execution of said message was a bit a miss. In a sea of politically-driven pieces, To Protect the Poets sadly sinks.