Last of the Boys
The history of the United States, while glinted with many bright moments of celebration, also features periods of pain and suffering. Under the direction of Rebecca Moore, the CORE Theatre presents an entertaining, poignant, and sometimes arresting production of Last of the Boys studies one of these difficult periods. The play (written by Steven Dietz) explores enduring repercussions of America’s violent war in Vietnam (artistic direction at the CORE Theatre by James Prince).
Upon entry to the theater, the stage has been transformed to a vision of a grungy campsite in the desert awash with stifled rays of light (light design by Matt Gunther). The play finds Ben (played by James Prince with stolid complexity) disrupted by his rock-and-roll, free-flowing, war friend Jetter (played by Matt Gunther with endearing fun). Regularly, Jetter spends his time trailing The Rolling Stones concerts; however, he makes a quick stop after attending the funeral of Ben’s father when Ben elected to stay home. Gunther’s Jetter injects levity, jollity and chaos into Ben’s disciplined solitude.
Accompanying Jetter on his travels is his newfound sardonic girlfriend Salyer (played by Emily Murphy with effective wit and angst). Murphy switches from sarcastic musings to temperamental outbursts throughout the play, sometimes in the same breath, with expert execution. Amid the verbal (and sometimes physical) sparring, we also meet Salyer’s mother Lorraine (played by Glynda Welch with honest world-weariness) out to track and collect her daughter from her runaway boyfriend.
Probing conversation and humorous comments make up most of the play, but the scenes begin to fade in and out of present reality and visions Ben experiences. In these visions, he contends with his perception of patriotism, encounters with a mysterious Young Soldier (played by Trevor Powell with convincing authority), and his revelations about a shared identity of guilt with the former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara — the “man with a plan” responsible for the continuing the war in Vietnam. The sound and light design accompanying these sequences focuses the narrative and proves an effective result (light board operation by Corinthia Townsend). Prince and Powell deliver these moments with a deft hand – to the point where you begin to understand why Ben struggles to feel connected to reality.
The CORE Theatre provides an amusing and provocative night of entertainment with their performance. Last of the Boys plays from Friday, August 11 - Sunday, September 3, at The CORE Theatre, in Richardson, TX. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this important show while you still can. Get your tickets today!
Audience Rating: PG13
Run Time: 2 hours, 15 minute intermission
Accessible Seating: Available
Hearing Devices: Not available
Sensory Friendly Performance: Not Available
Production Sound Level: Comfortable volume level
Noises or Visuals to Prepare For: Some brief difficult or violent descriptions, brief simulation of violence involving water (no actors were actually harmed during the production)
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