Sticks and Bones, David Rabe’s 1972 Tony Award-winning play, is the second part of a trilogy dealing with the Vietnam War, following The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and preceding Streamers. It is, without a doubt, one of the hardest stage dramas to sit through I have ever experienced. Partway through the first scene it’s abundantly clear what’s brewing, and it’s downright grim. It might be way cool if the cast would stumble and forget lines, or the direction would stink, or maybe props could fall off tables, or scenery just come crashing down. Anything to distract you, an audience member, much less a critic, from the absurdly crushing and savage realities of this show flashing up against the eyeballs and ears. Yeah, 1972. I’m talking to you. Era of Oblivion. Blown apart by a little “police action” called the Vietnam War. As expressed so succinctly by David Rabe. So much tragic waste.
Brazenly kicking off its Season of Politics, Fun House Theatre and Film mounts a seamless and relentlessly horrifying production of Sticks and Bones, with a focused ensemble of seven teens, aged 15-18. Whatever the challenge Artistic Director Jeff Swearingen throws at them, they rise to the occasion, with dedication and bold courage adult casts could wisely emulate. Farce, musicals, comedy, Shakespeare, drama, absurdism? Check, they got it down. They get Rabe down, and how. Question is, can YOU keep Rabe down?
Cast includes: Taylor Donnelson, Chris Rodenbaugh, Doak Campbell Rapp, Tex Patrello, Josh LeBlanc, Holly He and Marcus Miller.
Oh, my….namaste, namaste.
The show runs through this Saturday night, February 20th with a performance Friday the 19th , both at 7:30pm. A final matinee Saturday the 20th at 2:30pm.