Review: 'The Storytelling Ability of a Boy'


3.5 stars

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.


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