Faith and Forgiveness Highlight A Bright New Boise
by Motif Magazine
The themes of faith and forgiveness intertwine in the darkly comic A Bright New Boise, which opened in previews on February 28, March 1, and March 2 and runs until March 30 at Warren’s 2nd Story Theatre.
Will (Nathanael Lee), a refugee from a controversial church, has just been hired at the Hobby Lobby, a nondescript big-box store in Idaho. The play’s action takes place in the store’s drab break room, where the employees gather for small-talk and use as a sanctuary from the rest of the world. Pauline (Suzy Bowen-Powers) is the no-nonsense store manager who is continually exasperated with the fights breaking out among her subordinates. Pauline introduces Will to fellow employee Alex (Patrick Saunders), who turns out to be the son he gave up a long time ago. Father and son endure a strained reunion as Alex continually threatens to kill himself. However, Will is able to briefly connect with his son through their shared affection for music. Will also forms a bond with Anna (Tray Gearing), a devout Christian who discovers Will is writing an online novel about the end of the world. Another co-worker, Leroy (James Lucey) wears T-shirts featuring obscene slogans and fears Will will convert Alex to his brand of Christianity. The focus of the story is Will’s handling of a tragic event from his past, as well as his continued effort to become a part of Alex’s life after being away for so long. A Bright New Boise was directed by Mark Peckham, from a script by Samuel D. Hunter.
Peckham knows how to get the most out of his actors. Lee is haunting as Will expresses his contempt for the ugliness of modern society with its corporate homogeneity. Saunders is dynamic as the troubled Alex and has a challenging scene late in the play – a moment made up entirely of physical body language and facial expressionism. It is heart-wrenching to witness. Bowen-Powers, Gearing, and Lucey also bring a lot of fire to their characters. Their interactions are sometimes uncomfortable to watch, but are always riveting. Hunter has crafted a story about desperate people searching for meaning in their fractured existences. The deeper message is our common desire for fulfillment in a world filled with gloom.