BOYS’ LIFE at Second Stage Theatre

So I’m in New York, tagging along on M’s business trip and seeing as many plays as I can. Last night I went to see Howard Korder‘s Boys’ Life at Second Stage Theatre — with Rick McKern! Rick was in PlayGround until he rudely decided to abandon us and plan a move to New Jersey. He just happened to be in town, so we went out for a show and some beer, just like we would have done in Oakland, only about $100 more expensive.

Boys’ Life ostensibly stars Jason Biggs, but the real star is Rhys Coiro, who most people apparently know from Entourage, a show I’ve never seen. The play covers Mamet themes without the Mamet-style dialogue: guys trying to figure out what it means to be a guy. Korder was a Pulitzer finalist when the play first appeared in 1988, but it hasn’t been revived since. Hence the “second” part of “Second Stage.”

The play was very funny, and really well-written, playing off the audience’s expectations nicely. Just when you thought you knew where a speech or a scene was going, things turned. And many of the scenes went from comedy to dark drama really quickly, which you know I always like.

Interestingly, even though the play is written to be minimalistic short scenes, where a park bench slides in to represent a park and a table slides in to represent a wedding reception, the production made some incredibly realistic sets that where slid around onstage by the actors themselves. I’ve said before that I tend to like scene changes to be quick, fluid and minimal, and these did indeed stop the action while things were shifted around, but it did give a chance to play cool 1988 music that took us right into the scene.

Afterwards, Rick and I met up with M for drinks and BBQ. So we were with a friend from SF, in a place that felt like Austin, and really in New York. Disorienting, to say the least.


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