Dark Play or Stories for Boys

Posted February 16, 2009 in
Dark Play or Stories for Boys
Jan. 28 – Feb. 22
Salt Lake Acting Company
Directed by Tobin Atkinson

Ah, the Internet. With a simple flick of a wrist and a couple taps on any ol' keyboard, one can find anything from a new job to a shiny used car, and maybe even a “monstrous cock” to love and hold.

Wait, what?

Meet Nick, just another typical 14-year-old kid raised in the in the information age. Being somewhat savvy of the mystical powers that the Internet possesses, Nick finds himself exploring the deep-rooted insecurities of almost anyone else on the net. Scouring chat-rooms and message boards, Nick creates fake persona's for the sole purpose of getting a cheap laugh at the expense of all of those poor bastards. His tactics seem to work quite well until one day, he comes across Adam. Adam is sixteen, and just wants to fall in love. Seems like a pretty easy target, huh?

And so it seems that he is just that—for a while. Nick makes himself out to be just the person Adam is looking for: a pretty looking, somewhat average girl that just likes to chill on the beach. Fully convinced that he's finally found the right person, Adam eats it all up, and Nick just keeps playing right along. From there, what was originally a harmless prank meant to fuck with the minds of the gullible Internet masses turns into an incredibly engaging and sometimes downright horrifying ordeal.

Everyone in the play performed admirably, with all of the characters staying incredibly convincing throughout. Nick, played by Jesse Pepe, started off as just another teenager with a little Internet knowhow. As the story progressed, though, his character became more complex and disturbing. Michael Gardner, who played the role of Adam, showed that his character had a much more reserved and curious personality. Gabi Caro captured the spirit of Adam's “perfect girl” very well, playing Rachel. Even though she was just a creation of Nick's, her personality was so different from his that she became as real as anyone else in the story. Supplementing the three main characters was Brenda Sue Cowley and Jay Perry who consistently alternated roles, playing anyone from a step-dad out for vengeance to an idealistic, over-dramatic theater teacher.

From beginning to end, Dark Play maintained a near-evil atmosphere about it. Even as the story of Rachel began fairly lighthearted, the foreboding feeling that things were going to get messy was never forgotten. Interspersed throughout was some very “Internet-esque” adult humor that helped maintain a good balance of emotions. In total, SLAC, Tobin Atkinson and all of the actors and actresses came together and pull off one of the better plays I have seen in my days. Anyone who can tolerate some very heavy themes and a couple dick jokes should most-certainly see Dark Play while they still can. – Ross Solomon