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Late Bloomers and Glory Days
The Bodega at the Trading Post
Remaining Performances: Friday, July 24th at 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, July 26th at 6:30 p.m.
They Say: “The fifteen year high school reunion of the Fighting Eagles brings out the teenager in 7 former friends. But as the drink count rises and secrets are revealed, will they manage to stay that way?”
Glen’s Take: The above description promises — or threatens, I suppose, depending on your point of view — a tried and true reunion-sparks-shattering-revelations drama in the That Championship Season mode. Which is essentially what Late Bloomers and Glory Days delivers — you’ll know you’re on rails from beginning to end, but the track runs pretty smooth.
Local playwright Allyson Currin knows that we ‘ve seen this all before, and plays with those expectations a bit. That shattering revelation is deliberately anti-climactic, and — mercifully — has nothing to do with anyone coming out of the damn closet because that shit is, can we all agree, A) not particularly shattering, and B) SERIOUSLY tired, already.
But Jessica North Macie’s direction doesn’t seem to be coming at Currin’s script from any particular angle. True, this allows us a clear, unobstructed view of the performances. It doesn’t, however, give us much else to hang onto, and the evening starts to seem more like a tag-team actor showcase than a narrative about which we’re supposed to care. This feeling is underscored at the close of the play, which calls for characters to make a symbolic gesture that, in this production, comes off more capital-S-Symbolic/on-the-nose/writerly than real.
But if this show’s intent is simply to introduce us to some actors, let’s play along. All the performers are graduates of DC’s National Conservatory of the Dramatic Arts, and they do solid work. Oh, there’s some stiffness, some rushing through lines. And with the notable exceptions of Leigh Anna Fry and Michael Harris, there’s also a vague but pervasive reluctance to commit to the script’s comic touches, to really hit the jokes.
But again: You can go into Late Bloomers and Glory Days confident that you’ll get out of it … pretty much what you imagine you’ll get out of it. Which, people tell me, is what going to a high school reunion feels like.
(Note: Harris is not scheduled to appear in Sunday’s production; Fry will not appear in tonight’s.)
See it if: You’re on Facebook to reconnect with high school friends.
Skip it if: You’re not on Facebook, because you see very little daylight between the phrase, “You can reconnect with people from high school!” and the phrase “You can get spastic colon!”