We meet lifelong friends Angus (he of the brain injury) and Morgan at the same time city slicker Miles does. It soon becomes obvious to Miles and the audience that Angus is... special. Although he remembers Morgan from the pre-war days, and after years of repetition and practice he knows how to do things like make sandwiches (lots of sandwiches) and drive a tractor, he can't remember new things or people. Miles has to reintroduce himself every day as he follows the farmers around with his notebook, gathering material for the play he's working on (interestingly based on a true event in Canadian theater in 1972 called The Farm Show). Morgan has a good time with the gullible actor, asking him to perform tasks like washing rocks and rotating the crops at 3 am. Every night Angus asks Morgan to tell him a story, the story of their life. Miles overhears this touching story of love, friendship, and loss, and puts it into the play. When Angus and Morgan go to the rehearsal and hear Miles' rendition of their story, Morgan is angered, but Angus is delighted. And more importantly, it triggers something in his injured brain and he begins to remember. It changes the delicate balance in Angus and Morgan's life, of which Morgan has always had control. But as painful as it is to hear, perhaps it's better for both of them to know and speak their true story.
|Bob Malos, Keith Shelbourne, and Mike Swan|
(photo by Richard Fleischman)
The play is set in 1972, which you wouldn't know from the farmers' timeless uniform of Levis and plaid shirts, but the city kid actor displays a fun array of '70s fashion. The farm set fills up the in-the-round space, with short walls between the indoor kitchen and living room and the great outdoors, and open spaces hinting at doors and windows. The lighting nicely highlights the time of day, from nighttime star-watching to the morning sun glowing warmly through the imaginary windows (costumes by Amy B. Kaufman, set by Laura Tracy, lighting by Andrew C. Kedl). I also quite enjoyed the pre-show, intermission, and between-scenes soundtrack - a mix of '70s and acoustic folk and country.
Theatre in the Round's poignant production of The Drawer Boy continues through next weekend only.