Monday, May 24, 2010

The Metal Children @ The Vineyard

Instead of reading this review, I suggest you stop what you're doing and buy tickets to The Metal Children at The Vineyard. You have until June 13 to see Adam Rapp's (he also directs) thought-provoking play about censorship of young adult (YA) literature.
Tobin Falmouth (Billy Crudup) is the author of The Metal Children, a YA novel about the disappearance of pregnant teenage girls who are then replaced with statues. When the book is banned from a classroom in Midlothia, Tobin is invited to the town by Stacey Kinsella (an adorably bumbling Connor Barrett), the teacher responsible for assigning the book.

Although the play stems from Rapp's own experiences with the banning of his novel The Buffalo Tree, he does not take sides. On the one hand, the actions of some of the zealots in the town are disturbing, but Falmouth is no saint either. And the fact is that the book is influencing many of the girls to get pregnant, modeling themselves after the heroine. The often surprising play even manages to pull of some touching moments. Falmouth is suffering after the departure of his wife, and Crudup plays him with a humanity that makes you sympathize with him, even while condemning some of his actions. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent.

Last year, David Korins created one of my favorite sets for Why Torture is Wrong, and he again impresses here in the way the deceptively simple set constantly shifts to reveal other pieces.

The Metal Children won't leave you with easy answers about the power of art and the responsibility of the artist, but at least it raises the questions.

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

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