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Good Boys and True
The setting is an exclusive Jesuit prep school in 1988. A smarmily revealing videotape is circulating through the campus. It supposedly depicts Brandon Hardy, a senior jock from a wealthy family, having heavy sex with a minor who's clearly unaware that she's being turned into amateur porn. Brandon, pampered scion of renowned physicians, must answer to his mother Elizabeth. She needs to know whether he's the boy in the tape and who the victim is. Meanwhile, Brandon's coach tries to contain the uproar.
Will this outrage hurt Brandon's admission to Dartmouth? Actually, that's the least of what's at stake in this Washington suburb. The bigger question: Does the fear of sexual exposure warp "good boys and true" into vicious users?
It's tempting to push the plot further, but the revelations here don't belong in print. It's enough to say that Aguirre-Sacasa has created an adolescent hotbed of repressed eroticism, class differences that fuel sexual manipulation, and a self- fulfilling family history of thuggishness in pursuit of power. Yet, balancing these soul-shrinking forces is a kind of dogged decency.
Matching the play in its second-act strength, Pam MacKinnon's staging soars as it depicts Brandon's mother (a steely and galvanizing performance by Martha Lavey, Steppenwolf artistic director) meeting Cheryl (a heartbreaking Kelly O'Sullivan), the much wronged waitress in the videotape. This incandescent encounter reveals the aching humanity of women from different backgrounds trying to do the right thing, characteristically cleaning things up after men have done their easy worst.
The other performances pale before the unforced honesty of Lavey and O'Sullivan, though Tim Rock has strong speeches as Justin, Brandon's confused special friend, an unspoiled preppie who simply wants to prosper on his own merits. As Brandon, Stephen Louis Grush seems perplexed by the part; on opening night his final breakdown was less than convincing. Happily, the context cures this shortfall. Good Boys and True is strong enough to update —-and improve on— Tea and Sympathy. These two acts of compassion show us our worst to help us reach its opposite.
Other Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa plays reviewed at Curtainup
Based on a Totally True Story -2006
Dread Awakening: "Bloody Mary," -2006 Rough Magic-2007 DC
The Velvet Sky/ Aguirre- 2006, DC
The Mystery Plays-2004
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide