« Internet Broadway Database | Main | A very impressive cryptic »

"Good Boys" at ACT

Every once in a while, we're lucky enough to be reminded, viscerally, of the emotional power that live theater, uniquely among art forms, has to offer.

Tonight, the reminder was served up by ACT's production of Jane Martin's recent play "Good Boys". This riveting, tense, supercharged, and blessedly short play is centered around an encounter between two fathers: eight years before, James' son killed Thomas' son in a Columbine-style shooting at his high school.

Staged in the round in ACT's intimate Allen Theatre, this is a well-cast narrative onion of a play, with the conversation/argument going around and around, peeling back the layers of the tragedy one by one. The brilliant encounter between these two men who've never before met, but who have so much crucial shared history, is prefaced and punctuated with gut-grabbing scenes with their sons, especially with Ethan, the manic, middle-class, but grungy shooter. Ethan's several monologues, energetically and sometimes frighteningly delivered by Michael Scott, offer a look into the mind of a desperately frustrated teen, tempted by and eventually overcome by the kind of evil impulse that's inside us all.

Thomas Jefferson Byrd's portrayal of the former pastor, Thomas, also deserves a special mention: his marvelous artistic choices, from movement to delivery to subtly exposed inner complexity, help us to see more deeply the multi-faceted nature of forgiveness for the unforgiveable.

This wonderful production is still playing at ACT for another week, through October 17th. If you're in Seattle already, or can make it here in time, you owe it to yourself to feel the full intensity of what live theater can give you.