It’s 1988 and Brandon is embarking on his Senior year at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School for Boys. He’s smart, charming and the captain of the football team – a typical St. Joe’s leader. But when a video tape featuring graphic sex acts is found in one of the school’s VCRs his future is threatened. Is Brandon the boy on the tape? Who is the girl? And why was the tape made? The slow revealing of the answers to these questions force Brandon’s mother Elizabeth to confront unsettling truths about her son, herself, and the foundation of their lives as the school and community are rocked by scandal.
Set in Washington, D.C. at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School for Boys, Good Boys and True is based on a true story about how our culture deals with rape by supporting, encouraging and very often rewarding the perpetrator’s behaviour.
The two boys, Brandon and Justin struggle with their secret relationship and at times their characters are conflicted and unsure of themselves which, after all, is what growing up gay often feels like. All of this becomes a minor sub-plot to the real drama which is Elizabeth Hardy (played by Heather E. Cunningham), who plays Brandon’s mother and is perfectly brilliant in the role. Watching Elizabeth on stage was exactly how a mother might handle this situation and even though she was technically trying to cover up for her son, her internal conflict resonated outward in a way that made me feel almost sorry for her as a parent. While rape is a horrible, horrible thing I could understand why she would cover up for him.
I love the 80’s and I don’t really see what this had to do with the play. This story actually happened in 1988 but that’s not enough of a reason to bring the 80’s into this. The fact that is happened in 1988, 1965 or 2020 has little to no bearing on this storyline and so it’s not adding anything to the story, in fact there are some points when it’s just a distraction. The one exception to this would be Cheryl Moody (played by Rebecca Gray Davis) who was a delight to watch and she was both thoughtful and whimsical in her approach. It’s true adding pop culture references are a way of setting the time and place one only needs to set the time, once. Most of the set items (Monopoly, a Rubik’s Cube, Footloose Album, etc) were real but tragically old and worn which is not how these things would have looked in the 1980’s which creates a disconnect for the audience because we are now looking at history (old things) instead of being in the present moment (new things). Despite the overindulgence in the eighties, you should go see this play because at it’s core its a good story made even better by the fantastic acting and stage direction.
Good Boys and True
November 28th – December 12th, 2015
Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street, New York, Tickets
written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, directed by DeLisa White
Featuring: C.K. Allen, Stephan Amenta, Heather E. Cunningham, Rebecca Gray Davis, Ryan Pater, and Moira Stone
Set Designers Jack and Rebecca Cunningham, Costume Designer Kathryn Squitieri, Lighting Designer Asa Lipton, Sound Designer DeLisa White, Properties Designer/Associate Producer Sara Slagle, Producing Artistic Director Heather Cunningham