Good Boys And True – Raven Theatre

 

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Good Boys And True

Directed by Cody Estle

At Raven Theatre’s West stage, Chicago

Thought provoking drama of privilege, social class and sexual identity

Raven Theatre, under the tight direction by Cody Estle, has cast a fine crew to navigate through Good Boys and True which is a drama about a high school senior whose sociopath personality allows him to do whatever his desires dictate.

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Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s well written Good Boys and True is a compelling story about a world of cultural privilege and the arrogance of wealth. Brandon Hardy (Will Kiley) is the brilliant, popular, good looking jock who is one of the elite seniors at St. Joe’s Prep school where the upper class boys prepare for the Ivy League and a life as part of the ruling class in Washington, D. C. Brandon’s future is threatened by a videotape found on the campus. Elizabeth Hardy (terrific turn by Maggie Cain) is called in by Coach Russell (Karl Potthoff) in an attempt to cover up a potential scandal. St Joe’s has a cultural of quietly protecting both the school’s and the boy’s reputations. Privilege both breeds scandals and covers them up. Aguirre-Sacasa’s play unfolds as a mystery in which we see how the dynamic of a troubled boy, who has  a three year gay relationship (or does he?) with Justin (Derek Herman), must struggle with the dilemma of how he feels about Justin and the privileged life laid out for him by his family. But, could Brandon simply be manipulating everyone for his own desires?

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I’ll not give away too much of the plot but I can say that the mother-son relationship and the contempt for working class girls and the hypocritical values of the elite prep school are dramatized and mirrored to expose the conflict between a boy’s true identify and the pressure to live up to the families values. When we finally see why Brandon did what he did, we realize that it is possible that his narcissism and his sociopath personality allows him to pleasure himself with Justin and to have the attack on the working class girl with any conscious or guilt. We also see how the mother, Elizabeth, realizes that her son is a social monster that needs taming. 

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Will Kiley was terrific as the smiley-faced charmer , Brandon, but Maggie Cain’s performance as Elizabeth is the moral center of the piece. This thought-provoking drams underscores the elitist social class divide that still is present in and around Washington. D. C. Not much has changed since 1988 when this drama was to have taken place. only today they use sexting to pass around their smut.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: March 16, 2014

For more info check the Good Boys and True page at theatreinchicago.com

At Raven Theatre’s West stage,  6157 N. Clark, Chicago, IL, call 773-338-2177, www.raventheatre.com, tickets $36, $15 for students, teachers and military, $5 off for seniors, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission, through May 3, 2014