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ART & ABOUT: 'BOY'

Doing the right thing involves hope, love

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Being a father of three children I can tell you raising children is a challenge. Sure the rewards, high points, achievements make watching you child grow, mature into a functioning adult make the process worthwhile.

The entire concept of family co-existence in a house hold of personalities, concerns, anxieties that not only confront individuals more often than not impact everyone in the family in one way or the other.

102518Anna1That is why I found the Actor's Warehouse production of BOY directed by Ann Kinnebrew, and written by Anna Ziegler a riveting story transfixing me to my seat watching a family literally living their son Adam/Samantha's (Taylor Lawrence) transform from the male sexual gender to a female.

Anne Kinnebrew encapsulated the growth of Adam, born with a physical, sexual, birth defect, into a young adult with serious physical, and physiological issues creating a compelling story questions with no answers, ideas and therapies resulting in bad outcomes.

Screenwriter Anna Ziegler has made the Actors Warehouse stage a world where Adam/Samantha a transgendered boy child was living a life of anxiety filled with very few good answers.

 

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FROM THE ANNA ZIEGLER WEBSITE:

Inspired by a true story, BOY explores the complicated terrain of trying to find love in a new body, and the inextricable bonds between doctor and patient. In the 1960s, a well intentioned doctor convinces the parents of a male infant to raise their son as a girl after a terrible accident. Two decades later, the repercussions of that choice continue to unfold.

 

It is not until after the play is introduced by Actor's Warehouse Executive/Artistic Director Stephen Butler with the qualifier, "This show does have a happy ending," did my thoughts formulate on trhis idea of hopelessnes and no positive outcomes loomed as aresult of this story.

The play opens with a typical boy, meets girl introduction that quickly goes awry in a dialogue of confusion, and eagerness by both Adam/Samantha and his new friend Jenny, (Cristin Donaldson). As with many of the scenes dealing with Adam/Samantha the issues he encounters are really not much different than the usual, trying to formulate a new, relationship and failing miserably in the process.. That is unless you know you are different from most any one as in Adam/Samantha's case.

Failing miserably. This term could easily summarize the struggles of Adam/Samantha being directed by his Doctor (Bradley T. Hicks) to behave in a 'certain way.'

 

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Adam/Samantha's loving mother Trudy (Paula Ambrose) tried her very best to socialize a child she recognized will always have overtly pronounced differences. Ms. Ambrose did a very good job of projecting an unqualified love of Adam/Samantha being detrained in her do-the-right-thing approach.

Frustrations arise when the father, (Jorge DeJesus), in this equation was working very hard trying to understand the re-programming of his son with very little input from the dad's point of view in his perspective.

 

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The youthful, refreshing naivete from Adam/Samantha new friend Jenny offered the viewer hope. Adam/Samantha's determination, and assistance from the loving people in his world would result in successful outcomes of hope, and love. However many questions continue unanswered. Much applause to Taylor Lawrence for an amazingly empathetic portrayal of a confused young man trying his darndest to be just like everyone else.

Set designer Bradley T. Hicks arrived at a clever idea of showing Adam/Samantha's life moving forward with the chronicled years of growth of the story displayed above the stage.

This progression of the story, time, was helpful as it enhances the minimal approach of lighting and costume needs. There were several times where I was focusing on Adam/Samantha making sure I wasn't missing the understanding of the situation of the lead character's situation.

 

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Adam/Samantha's personal dilemma several times became overwhelming with the recognition that he was not getting any real answers to correct his situation or explaining reality to him.

Do the right thing could summarize nicely the multiple approach to these individuals in Adam/Samantha work.  Much like the Characters in in the play I was left with, 'what is the right thing?'

 

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Kudos and much applause to the Actor's Warehouse Team for creating a thought provoking story that will impact any and all viewers with the ideas of love, hope, and a willingness to assist your fellow man.

The show is 90 minutes with no intermission. This continuity kept this viewer enthralled with the events of Adam/Samantha's life. Stephen Butler was correct the ending of BOY. Now it is time for your dose of compassion, hoe and humanity.

Special thanks to the Actors Warehouse for the use of BOY images. Actors Warehouse continues their production of BOY through November 4 with performances on various days and times. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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