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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Dark Play or Stories for Boys
The play begins in Nick's college dorm room when his first girlfriend asks him about the scars on his midriff. "Do I tell her the truth or do I do what I do so well? Make shit up?" he muses. The story he tells the girl takes her into that chat room where his 14-year-old self has become disillusioned with cyber sex and the awesome response to fake seduction ads. When he comes across a naively worded ad from 16-year-old Adam, reading "I want to fall in love", he's blown away. What is this love? He has to find out. He knows Adam won't tell him because Adam is looking for a fantasy girl. So Nick becomes Rachel and Adam does fall in love. What follows is as predictable and tragic as Cyrano de Bergerac and as melodramatic as something you'd expect a 14-year-old comic book junkie to create. On the other hand, he could easily have lived it.
Stewart W. Calhoun makes Nick credibly precocious and heartbreakingly vulnerable. Adam Haas Hunter brings Adam from innocence to corruption with wide-eyed subtlety. They're ably supported by Danielle K. Jones as Rachel/Molly, the fantasy modeled on Nick's real life love or vice versa, and Johnathan McClain and Bethany Pagliolo in a variety of parts. One of my favorites was Pagliolo's cop, Olivia, who, while goading Adam into retribution, corrects his grammar and spelling.
Murillo has an aptitude for skewering today's culture through piercing literate dialogue and credible, sad and questing characters. It's material that brings out the best in Michael Michetti's intuitive direction.
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