Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good Boys and True

Near the end of the second act of this new play by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the mother of the teenage boy at the center of the play comments that her life did not turn out as expected when she first met her husband. The upsetting of expectations of both the characters and the audience is at the heart of this excellent drama. Brandon Hardy (played by Stephen Louis Grush) is the "teenage boy"; described thus because, as Aristotle said, he had not yet developed the habits of right action stemming from the moral center of an adult. Lacking this moral center and relying on a distant mother and father whose advice turns out to be wrong, Brandon makes some bad decisions and only (possibly) begins to realize the consequences of these decisions as the play comes to its end. It is left to the audience to decide if he and all the others whose lives are changed over the course of the play will move on with their lives, creating them anew, or not.

Good Boys and True is a suspenseful drama well-acted by the ensemble at the Steppenwolf Theater. Martha Lavey, the Artistic Director for the Theater, is particularly good portraying Brandon's mother. While the Stephen Louis Grush and Tim Rock excel in the key roles of Brandon and his "good" friend, Justin. Perhaps the most mysterious character is Brandon's father, who does not appear on stage. We come to know him through the picture painted by his family and the coach of the boys' school and find a character that, in his absence, is no less a powerful player on the stage. The play's ability to defy our expectations, the way the characters change and develop, and the many-faceted themes that are deftly explored all combine to make this an excellent drama.

Overall the evening was satisfying with the addition of an informative talk back following the play. The play continues in performance through the middle of February.

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