Master Harold'... and The Boys

The trio of actors who bring the play to life are compelling in their portraiture and absolutely true in their humanity. Each is matured, for better or for worse, by the events of the play.

Guiseppe Jones offers an outstanding performance as Sam, full of love and life and laughter that, even after being shattered, still can cling to the shards of his life to find a different kind of peace, but peace nonetheless. Wendell Franklin makes of Willie a highly human being, one who may not be so amiable-appearing as Sam at the beginning, perhaps not so intelligent as Sam, perhaps not having had so even a life as Sam. The d鮯uement changes Willie appreciably: he now sees things that he did not understand about himself and his relationship to Sam and to Hally. Clifton Guterman is Hally, the "Master Harold" of the title. His relationships with Sam and with his offstage father inform much of the play, as does his coming-of-age, since he is the youngest of the charactersbut he makes his choices, despite his age or because of it, and will not back down. Guterman's is a telling performance of the pivotal role one wrong step, one telegraphing ahead of an emotion before it happens, and the whole play would fall like a failed souffle, and an audience would be left baffled. The father-son nexus applies to all of those three characters, just as in Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie all the characters are unicorns who have lost their horns.

Brooks as director can take a bow for having steered this brilliant trio of actors safely between the excesses of overacting or reaching a climax too soon and clipping the wings of the actors by ill-conceptualized stage movement. Every necessary t is crossed, every i dotted. His is a brilliant job.

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