“the nothing boys” was one of the better plays I’ve seen this year. It was both thoroughly enjoyable and genuinely well written, reaching out to audiences of all generations. Whether you’ve attended many high school reunions or haven’t had one yet, writer Greg Siff’s recollection of his, is enough to keep you very much amused. This quirky performance was almost perfectly executed and for that, “the nothing boys” deserves a glowing review.
Greg Siff loosely based main character Gregory James on his own adolescent self. A few years after graduation from Woodmere Academy, Gregory, played by Siff, attends his ten year reunion. To his surprise, he finds himself all alone; the other students were obviously too busy. Gregory is greeted by the school guidance counselor Marty, an eccentric character, just a little off-center. Marty wasn’t quite the star-struck audience Gregory was expecting. He had wanted to feel like the big, Hollywood actor with ex-students envious of his success.
Gregory’s trying to figure out exactly who he is and where he fits in, and at the time of his 10 year reunion, his dreams of success and fame are slowly fading. He may have a national commercial for Outback Steakhouse running, but he is far from out-of-work. Shouldn’t it be Spielberg calling him after all these years? Instead the voice on the other end of the phone is his mother, inquiring about the workings of the DVD player. As James quietly snacks on the party platters, one other student emerges from the shadows. His name is Marshall, a nerdy, not-so-cool kid turned not-so cool adult who is seemingly in awe of Gregory’s Hollywood lifestyle. The story proceeds to show us the way in which these two very different people have been brought together, almost by fate, to help one another re-ignite that inner fire that drove them in the first place.
The team behind “the nothing boys” is of monumental importance to mention. Director Rick Sparks has won numerous theatre awards as a director, writer, producer, actor, sound designer and choreographer. Rob Weiss, who is currently a writer/executive producer on the hit HBO show Entourage, is co-producer of “the nothing boys”. These very accomplished and clever people managed to team up with a couple of amazing actors that fully executed their roles. The character of Marty is loud and lovable, played with conviction by the talented Mark Christopher Tracy who has worked under Sparks direction before. Marshall was played especially well by actor/director/writer/editor/painter/musician Jason Weissbrod, a man of many talents. For me, Weissbrod had the most captivating and dynamic role of the night. He made us laugh at, cry for and briefly fear Marshall, an act not easy to achieve. This was also due in large part to Siff’s carefully planned and witty dialogue.
Greg Siff created a play that deals with the difficulties of aging, and what it means to dream bigger than anyone you know. Is it ever too late to realize a dream? When is it time to give those dreams away? This play suggests that dreams will stay forever dreams if you’re never bold enough to take a chance. Sometimes we need a little reminder, a little push in the right direction. “the nothing boys” had a very significant and uplifting message and was executed so well that it simply must be in your list of must see performances.
Photo credits to: June Czerwinski
"the nothing boys", runs May 3rd through June 1st, 2008. Performances are at East Theatre At The Complex at 6468 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 3 and 7 PM. (No matinee on May 18th) Tickets are $15. Running time is 80 minutes with no intermission and concessions available. Allow time for street parking.
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