Frank and Katrina
Basile Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre; directed by Bryan Fonseca; through March 27.
The Phoenix Theatre has an uncanny
knack for producing shows that draw direct connections to current
headlines. Opening concurrently with an Indiana State Teachers
Association rally at the State House, The Storytelling Ability of a
Boy shares one teacher’s struggle to make a difference in the
lives of two outcast students through the art of storytelling.
The scenic design, painted in sticky
note shades and the black and white marble of composition notebooks,
immediately conveys the characters’ penchant for and awareness
of storytelling. Carter W. Lewis’ script is a bit frantic, with
ironically scattered story organization. The writing’s saving
grace: fully sketched characters who are easy to love.
Authentic performances from two
promising Butler University students, Abigail J. Hart and Shane
Tarplee, capture the raw emotion of teen angst. As the teacher,
Carrie Schlatter, who is repeatedly cast as the opinionated and
highly-literate woman, turns in a measured and heartfelt performance.