Dear Patricia Davis: Please take your lecture off its high horse. Rather than investigate the role American psychologists have played in the torture of "suspected terrorists," consider the role American playwrights have played in making ticking-time-bomb scenarios, like the one you employ in Alternative Methods, so tedious. We don't need black-and-white characters like the rule-breaking private contractor Mike Flemming (Charlie Kevin) and his yes-man doctor, Robert Wolf (John Greenleaf), showing us what not to do. We need characters with some real intelligence and depth--Alok Tewari's performance as the accused Dr. Al-Badrani is so flat and stereotypical that it makes one want to waterboard him. There's a spark of a back-story given to rookie psychologist Susan Fulton (Julie Kline), enough to explain why she bonds with Al-Badrani and tries to subvert military conduct to free him, but that sort of illogical idealism belongs in Hollywood, which is fake enough to handle such things. On the other hand, Josh Liveright's direction is nice--particularly his transitions, and the way they employ Alex Koch's video design, which never lets us forget the time. Paul Smithyman and Elyse Handelman also deliver: their rotating interrogation room of a set allows us to watch through both sides of a "one-way" mirror, and though the reaction shots are generally hammy, they at least hint at something more. That's the real disappointment: that Alternative Methods only provides more of the same. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "Jack Bauer yelling" and 5 being "Jack Bauer yelling, but in a way that is somehow more convincing," Alternative Methods gets a 1.5.
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