As I left The Wild Project on East 3rd Street between Avenues A & B where I had just seen “A Bright New Boise” by Samuel D. Hunter as it ends its added performances run on Oct 2nd I couldn’t help but wonder what all the critical praise was about.
Yes, the acting from all the members of the five person cast is excellent. More than excellent, in fact. They bring out all the despair and dark humor inherent in the characters written by Mr. Hunter. The direction by Davis McCallum is solid. The set (Jason Simms) is appropriately functional in a Boise corporate way with a glass window that lets us see characters racing by or reacting through the glass which is a nice inventive touch.
Andrew Garman as Will – a shy disgraced member of a nondenominational “cult” Church where the pastor is under arrest for allowing a young man to die, comes to Boise to get a minimum wage paying job at “Hobby Lobby” a craft store in order to reconnect with his son Alex (Matt Farabee) who he had put up for adoption.
Alex, prone to having panic attacks, is now living with foster parents and has unrealized dreams of becoming a songwriter/ performer and is working at the store. His co-worker and half brother Leroy (John Patrick Doherty) has visions of being an artist and is extremely protective in a menacing way, wary that the seemingly fanatical Will, will try to convert Alex.
Pauline (Danielle Slavick) the fast talking, potty mouthed manager of Hobby Lobby is trying to keep all in order as the situation begins to unravel. Sarah Nina Hayon (Anna) another lost sole worker who loves to read and spend time after hours in the break room after secretly hiding out till the store closes tries to befriend Will and offers to listen to him read her his blog/novel about “The Rapture”.
Basically that is it. Except for the script itself which I found problematic and overflowing with religious belief jargon that takes the play into another realm all together while losing touch with the basic reason Will came back to Boise – to reconnect with his son.
There are two abrupt endings. One for each act that leaves one wondering what happened.
Photo: Stephen Taylor