Monday, September 22, 2008

The Chalk Boy

Although it's gone up to that Great Production in the Sky, judging from its recent good press and extended production history, there's still a chance it'll be extended/restaged in the not-too-distant future, so I wanted to drop a note of congratulations to the Management for their excellent production of The Chalk Boy. Joshua Conkel's play (which he directed) blends elements from Our Town and Twin Peaks to create a sweet, dark, sad, funny and insightful play about the hell of being in high school in a small town and how the unexpected disappearance of a high school football hero throws everyone's lives in disarray.

The cast (Mary Catherine Donnelly, Marguerite French, Jennifer Harder, Kate Huisentruit), many of whom break the fourth wall and serve as narrators and multiple characters (does Donnelly get any professional voiceover work? If not, she should), is quite captivating and believable as insecure high school students, becoming BFFs in one scene then mortal enemies in the next (yup, this is high school, all right). And Conkel's dialogue gets it right: this is genuinely (as memory serves) how high school teens talk.

The Chalk Boy captures that insecurity and confusion about one's own identity perfectly. For example, Penny and Breanna (Harder and Huisentruit) play Wiccans, even though it's pretty clear early on they know little to nothing about being witches, and are quite possibly being Wiccans just to separate themselves from the herd. I loved how they deal with Penny's (Harder) head-over-heels love for Jeff Chalk, and how we learn through flashbacks and dream sequences he's duller than drying paint. I also loved the scene at the high school dance where Penny and Breanna dance, with Penny completely unaware that Breanna is in love with her (possibly because Breanna herself is confused and in denial about her feelings toward Penny).

Yeah, I dug the hell out of this one. It's really good stuff.

Will The Chalk Boy get another life after its three-week run at Under St. Marks? Possibly. I hope so. People should see this.

Faking pregnancy,

James "Ouija Master" Comtois

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your kind words and for seeing the play to begin with. The reviews really ran the gamut... some people really liked it and others not so much.

Mary Catherine Donnelly is quite well know for her voice over work. She's "Kate" in Grand Theft Auto and is thereby a goddess to many a video game nerd.

Anyway, I like your blog! Keep up the good work.

5:31 PM  

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