Monday, September 13, 2010

The Truth and The Trespassers

Freshly back from the dress rehearsal of The Trespassers, by Morris Panych, at the theatre where I work -- blown away by this production. The design elements, the chemistry between the performers, the casting choices -- all top-notch. The script is brilliant in the way I've come to expect from Panych -- fragmented, skewed, and reflective in unexpected ways, like a shattered mirror reassembled into an indescribable three-dimensional object and then put under stage lights.

The Trespassers is a family drama about a fifteen-year-old boy, Lowell, who comes under suspicion during a murder investigation. Lowell tells his story in pieces, and we have glimpses of his relationship with his mother, his grandfather, and his grandfather's girlfriend, as the police try to sort out the truth. Truth is the big theme here -- truth, lies, bluffs, secrets, and how they all relate to each other. Sometimes we get to learn the truth, or think so, as Lowell tips off the audience to what he was really doing when he's told his mother he was staying with a friend (an imaginary diabetic Mexican Jehovah's Witness). Some truths are left for the audience to sort out for themselves from the pieces Lowell provides, knowing that Lowell himself is an unreliable narrator: he has his reasons to tell stories.

The plot is underpinned by a murder mystery, but I didn't care about solving it. I cared about this boy and his family, and the story he so obviously needed to tell me. I wanted to know about these relationships as soon as they were introduced, and in every sense, the script and the performers delivered. Tonight, I was told a beautiful, sad, occasionally hilarious story about four people. I can't wait to hear it again.

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