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Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013

Pink Banana’s Internet Drama

A ‘Dark Play’ with a few bright points

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Carlos Murillo’s Dark Play or Stories for Boys is the type of story about social networking that has been circulating since the dawn of the Internet. An adolescent boy pretends to be an adolescent girl while romantically interacting with another adolescent boy. Then things get complicated. Though it’s not without its merits, the Pink Banana Theatre Co. production of the drama does little to freshen-up a script that already feels a little clichéd.

Nolen Borne plays a teenage boy experimenting with alternate identities online. Borne doesn’t come across as being nearly as jaded as the character is. This is vastly preferable to playing him as a total jerk. However, he seems too much of a nice guy to be convincingly manipulative when things get tense. Borne is at his best in direct interaction with the rest of the characters in the story. Nate Press plays the object of affection here. Press is dazzlingly good at playing loveably stupid people. His proficiency goes a long way towards making his gullibility seem believable, but there are hints towards an exaggeration of this gullibility in the script that the rest of the production doesn’t seem to pick up on. Brenna Kempf makes a stunningly sweet appearance here as the fictitious girl that Press’ character is falling in love with. Her real triumph lies in bringing the character’s subtle complexity to the stage as it is drawn out in the course of the story.

Pink Banana Theatre’s production of Dark Play or Stories for Boys runs through Nov. 16 at The Arcade Theatre in The Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. For tickets, visit pinkbananatheater.com.

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