Monday, September 29, 2014

Stalking The Bogeyman @ New World Stages Stage 5

How do you illustrate the life of a man haunted by a childhood horror?
You try.
Based on David Holthouse’s fearless telling of his own story, New World Stages’ Stalking the Bogeyman tried and succeeded. Adapted and Directed by Markus Potter, with additional writing by Shane Zeigler, Shane Stokes and Santino Fontana, Holthouse’s story was thoroughly rendered and had me glued to my seat in shock, horror and awe.

Scenic Designer David Goldstein, Lighting Designer Cory Pattak, and Sound Designer Erik T. Lawson were experts in accentuating the actors’ portrayal of Holthouse’s struggles. Goldstein worked tirelessly to create a stage that placed me in portions of Holthouse’s mind. Pattak was equally meticulous, subtly hinting at scene changes and bringing Goldstein’s details to the forefront.

Markus Potter, Associate Director Michael Rader and Production Stage Manager Anita Ross somehow mastered the chaotic nature of memory to keep the viewer constantly oriented and reminded that this story is very real.

David Holthouse, played by Roderick Hill, took me through an enrapturing journey of a boy grown to a man wrestling with his past through hatred, obsession, revenge and redemption. Able to transition between ages, heavy outlooks and strong feelings, Hill had me thinking “wow, this could have happened to anyone I know.”

Nancy and Robert Holthouse (Kate Levy and Murphy Guyer) were David’s suburban, concerned and loving parents. Levy and Guyer gave the Holthouses the family-next-store element that it needed. I found myself pondering just how many families out there are afflicted by children burdened with these remembrances.

Additionally, Russ and Carol Crawford were portrayed as the seemingly clueless parents of a son who had committed a horrific act by John Herrera and Roxanne Hart. Herrera had some difficulty with the proverbial “hombre” accent as Payaso and stumbled through a few lines but these instances had no negative consequences for my enjoyment of the play.

Hart also doubled as Dr. Sarah Leavitt, David’s therapist. Hart showed a doctor attempting to aid her patient clinically while maintaining emotional distance with ease. Each supporting character culminated to make Holthouse’s life story unfold in front of me.

And of course, Erik Heger gave a frighteningly realistic performance of the Bogeyman. Heger managed to make me feel a small level of understanding of his character while also making me grip my seat with hatred for him. I can say no more without spoiling it.

If you know someone who has suffered childhood horrors or have yourself—go see Stalking the Bogeyman. Markus Potter’s way of taking you into Holthouse’s life may bring you some closure or some understanding of a loved one. Be prepared to open your life to a few uncomfortable truths but be brave enough to see Holthouse’s life just as he has been brave enough to allow Potter to share it.

Review By: Alexandra Lipari
Photos By: Jeremy Daniel

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