Monday, November 5, 2012

Thinking Cap Theater: The Drawer Boy (2 reviews)

Thinking Cap Theatre opened its production of The Drawer Boy at Empire Stage on November 1, 2012.
Michael Healey's award-winning play, The Drawer Boy, is a comic, suspenseful, and touching drama about friendship, storytelling, and survival. This poignant play makes a persuasive case for the necessity and power of art.
Nicole Stoddard directed a cast that included Jim Gibbons, Mark Kroczynski, and Scott Douglass Wilson.

John Thomason reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
For a company whose niche lies in edgy, button-pushing plays for the gender-bending youth, The Drawer Boy is proof that Thinking Cap Theatre can do straightforward, mainstream theater with the best of them. The costumes, selected by director Nicole Stodard, are spot-on, if overused — people don't usually wear the exact same clothes day in and day out, ad infinitum — and Chastity Collins' set design is a notch above nearly every production I've ever seen at Empire Stage.  Kudos too to Nate Sykes' lighting design, with its creative positioning of stars on the ceiling of the set during the night scenes.
And director Stodard could not have chosen a better cast to act out this deep-rooted exorcism of truth. Gibbons and Wilson perfectly embody their clashing personalities, with the prior an obstinate, grizzled personification of heartland values and the latter a sensitive interloper who wouldn't know a tractor from a hoe.
But as Angus, this is Kroczynski's show, and for an actor seldom seen in professional South Florida productions, his performance is a revelation. Rarely stable, his head bounces around on his neck like a bobble-head or a paranoid squirrel, and he gazes across his environment with the helpless, wide eyes of a baby surveying the inscrutable, tormented by something only he can see. His face turns a scalding red as he clutches his temples in agony, retrieving such intense hurt from God knows where. You can almost see the metal plate chafing against his cerebrum. It's a performance that engenders pity, discomfort, and ultimately hope — the staggering center of an enormously powerful show.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Canadian playwright Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy was first done in South Florida in 2004 by the late, great Florida Stage. A new production of the play, this one by Thinking Cap Theatre at Fort Lauderdale’s Empire Stage, is obviously the work of a younger, smaller company with fewer financial resources. But thanks to the work of director Nicole Stodard and the lovely performances of a three-man cast, The Drawer Boy is once again demonstrating the warmth, humor and loss contained in a compelling story.
Stodard has shaped her small cast into a cohesive ensemble. Gibbons is delightfully deadpan... Kroczynski is moving and energized as he takes Angus from contentment to despair and back. Wilson.. demonstrates the good heart sometimes obscured by Miles’ self-absorbed artistic process.
Set designer Chastity Collins is evocative on a tiny budget... Sound designers Stodard and David Hart supply the farm’s chirping birds and lowing cows, and lighting designer Nate Sykes takes the place from sunny daylight to star-filled night.
The Drawer Boy is a rather traditional piece by Thinking Cap’s eclectic, experimental standards. But with it, Stodard amply demonstrates one more facet of her range.
Thinking Cap Theatre's production of The Drawer Boy plays at Empire Stage on November 18, 2012.

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