The opening image of A Bright New Boise is a powerful one: Michael Russotto’s Will stands under a highway overpass, shouting for the end of the world. Will, like all of us, is a seeker of truth, a man trying to find meaning in his life; however, the particulars of his journey are out of the theatrical ordinary, for Will has recently parted company with a millenarian congregation in northern Idaho, and perhaps has left his religious faith behind as well.
When the apocalypse comes, who’s to say it won’t come to the break room of a chain store specializing in arts and crafts?—a chain whose labor practices (enforced by Pauline, the excellent Emily Townley) would make many an HR professional’s hair stand on end. For it is there that Will tries to put his economic house in order, and maybe build some bridges to the past. A standout among his misfit coworkers is the limp-haired Anna (Kimberly Gilbert), a woman with an unmodulated voice and limited social skills.
In the end, Will remains a curiosity for us, despite an honest performance by Russotto. The barriers he has raised against the emotional and financial shocks of the world leave him isolated, and it’s difficult for his to feel empathy for him.
- A Bright New Boise, by Samuel D. Hunter, directed by John Vreeke, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington