If I would have titled this post as “The Boy Next Door, a play by DeSmet Theatre”, the non-theatre types would probably skip over it. Maybe, they’ll jump ship now. OK. The cat is out of the bag. This is about a play I saw last night. And yes, it was at DeSmet High School. And yes, it was BRILLIANT. Let’s just say, it was one of the best plays I have ever seen in my play watching history of a few years now.
For those of you who are ardent fans of my blog, remember the post “Mine, mine, mine” about how I was a theatre critic and how it didn’t work out. But anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that while I was being a theatre critic, I had watched a play called Jesus Hopped the A Train. Phenomenal. Was absolutely mind blowing and really stuck with you for a long time. The Boy Next Door is one of those plays. Just tugs and tugs and tugs at your heart strings and there were so many moments where you laughed and then you weren’t sure if you should and then there were moments you were so lost and felt so badly for the characters there. Yes, I am comparing this high school production to one of the best ever professional productions I’ve ever seen.
In a traditional theatre review, one usually mentions the actors and the director and I don’t want to mention anyone in particular for this show. I don’t want someone to go because they know or don’t know someone in the cast. All I’ll say is that the acting by ALL was on a professional level and the director really hit a home run with this one. The characters of Lucien P. Smith, Norman and Arnold will last with you for a long time to come. There were several moments that stick with you but there was one scene when Lucien P. Smith, walks into the spot light and gives a speech. It was probably the most haunting moment of the play and of any play I’ve ever seen. I want to go back, if it’s only to watch that one moment again. I don’t know. Perhaps I should have stood and held my hand across my heart in reverence, like when one hears the national anthem. Or I don’t know. That much power deserves something. Something.
I think about all the movies I’ve watched in the past several years and nothing really drop kicks and knock out punches me like some of the plays I’ve seen. And The Boys Next Door is one of those plays. What is this play really about? It’s about four mentally challenged men living in a group apartment. It’s heartwarming to watch how they interact with each other and their social worker Jack and with everyone and life around them.
I know this show runs a couple more times this week. Watch it, if you get the opportunity. You will not regret it.