Saturday, April 21, 2018

Good Kids—Portland Actors Conservatory—SE Portland

Restless Youth

     This topical drama is written by Naomi Iizuka and directed by Beth Harper (Artistic Director for PAC).  It is playing at the Shoebox space, 2110 SE 10th Ave, through April 29th.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-274-1717.

     This is a timely issue for more than one reason.  The Youth today have bravely set themselves up against the NRA and its ilk in voicing, in the strongest way, concern for the growing violence from users of guns to commit mass murders, especially against Youth and in the schools.  I applaud them in the strongest way!  Those are the “good kids.”  But there is a darker side to Youth in this era and it is perpetrated against each other and perpetuated by social media.  Happy bedmates they do not make (no pun intended).

     One should remember that the Youth of today are the Adults of tomorrow and this world will then be in their hands.  We haven’t given them a very good example to follow, that’s true, but they must know that they are Not their parents and they have a right, a duty, to forge new pathways to a more compassionate society/world.

     This story is an ugly one, no doubt about it.  But one thing should be made very clear from the outset.  Having sexual relations with a girl without their expressed permission/consent is wrong, is a crime, and is rape!  No, wearing provocative clothing is not a Yes, or permission, and anyone who takes advantage of a drunken or doped-up lady, is the worst kind of villain and coward!  And what of those who stand by and do nothing, or watch from the sidelines, as they pass on electronically and verbally such an act?  Aren’t they equally at fault?!  I wonder how they justify such actions to themselves?!

     In this compelling story by Iizuka, we have the victim, Chloe (Melissa Reeves), who has a major alcohol problem and doing all the right (or wrong) things to not only attract the jocks of a rival high school football team, but also gains the wrath of the mean girls, headed by Amber (Amethyst Stone), mother-bitch of the in crowd.  The affable quarterback of the team, Connor (James Savannah), surrounded by his cronies,  Ty (Samson Syharath), who has a rocket in his pocket; Landon (Alex Albrecht), the media perpetrator; and Tanner (Ricky Junior), the too-late hero.

     Other friends and enablers consist of Kylie (Colleen Socha), Skylar (Trishelle Love), Madison (Bianca Murillo), Brianna (Jessica Kohl) and Daphne (Hannah Quigg).  There is also a mysterious narrator, Deirdre (Megan Haynes), of these events, in a wheelchair, but to tell you more would spoil discoveries an audience should make.  I will say that part of her purpose is to make sure the facts are straight, as one person’s perception of events may be another person’s lies.  The action takes place on an essentially bare stage but we are always aware of the locations because of Harper’s deft handling of the space and her exceptional cast, who she leads.

     The cast, as alluded to, is quite amazing, with Reeves standing out in a most complex and difficult role as the victim.  Kudos to her, and all her cohorts!  There are some excellent films of the past that address these issues, too:  Frank Perry’s, “Last Summer” (hard to find), Jodie Foster’s award-winning performance in “The Accused,” and Kurosawa’s award-winning film, “Rashomon.”

     I highly recommend this production but be aware of the sensitive subject matter.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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