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"A Bright New Boise" Comes to Dobama Theatre

Show explores troubled relationship between father and son

Relationships between fathers and sons can often be difficult, but perhaps few are more so than the one that opens this evening at Dobama Theatre beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Samuel D. Hunter’s award-winning play “A Bright New Boise” begins its run at the Lee Rd. theater as a father tries to reconnect with a son he gave up for adoption many years ago.

Will, a devout evangelical, leaves his small Idaho hometown following a church scandal to work alongside his troubled teenage son, Alex, at the ultra-corporate Hobby Lobby in the city of Boise, Idaho. Along the way, Will encounters an assortment of characters on the job battling demons of their own.

While it sounds heavy, director Nathan Motta wants people to understand that Hunter’s play is correctly called a comedy, but a very pointed one that explores many contemporary issues with extreme characters.

“Everybody’s looking for a connection. Everybody’s looking for something to grasp onto. Either they’ve found it and they hold on to it for dear life even if it’s to a very extreme reason, or they’re looking for something to grab onto. That makes the characters very needy, and it makes the stakes in the show very high. It also makes them very funny,” Motta said.

“A Bright New Boise” won the 2011 OBIE Award for Playwriting and the 2011 Drama Desk Nomination for Best Play and has had many notable performances around the country, including a well-known production at Wolly Mammoth.

Motta said he’s made some changes that will contrast with that well-known rendition of the play as he puts forth his own interpretation, but he doesn’t want to give anything away.

As one of the play’s characters might say, seeing is believing.

“I will say that the ending is very epic. Our production has some added elements. The play itself is set in a break room and in a parking lot … it’s not with a fancy production value or anything. There’s an apocalyptic moment towards the end of the play that we’re doing in a unique way, but that’s all I’ll say about it.”

Veteran actor Tom Woodward takes on the role of Will as he tries to build a relationship with his son Alex who will be played by Andrew Deike. Kristy Cruz plays the office’s task-master boss Pauline, while Kim Krane will bring the role of the troubled Anna to life with Brian Devers performing the combative Leroy.

A Bright New Boise runs until Nov. 18. Tickets are $26 regular, $24 senior for Fridays and Saturdays, $21 regular, $19 senior for Thursdays and Sundays.  Preview tickets for Oct. 25 are $10.  Student tickets are $10 (full-time, under 25 with a valid ID).

Tickets are available by calling the Dobama box office at 216-932-3396, or by visiting www.dobama.org.

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