Keen Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre present this world premiere, an investigation into gender about a child who was raised as a girl but is actually a boy. More…
Inspired by a true story, 'Boy' explores the complicated terrain of trying to find love amidst the confusion of sexual identity, and the inextricable bond between a doctor and patient. In the 1960s, a well-intentioned doctor convinces the parents of a male infant to raise their son as a girl after a terrible accident during circumcision. Years later, the child, now a young adult, tries to live anew as a man. A story of the blinding power of love and the complicated mystery of one’s perception of self, 'Boy' is a moving play that questions what shapes the person we are meant to be.
This production is presented by Keen Company and the Ensemble Studio Theatre Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Project.
"The brilliant ensemble cast brings that story to a level of authenticity and catharsis rarely seen on the New York stage at present…Playwright Ziegler handles the story with just the right mix of pathos, ethos, and logos – her writing could not be more persuasive...Steggert delivers a profoundly exquisite performance…The play raises a significant number of deep, rich, and enduring questions about acceptance of self, the healing power of true love, and the resilience of the human spirit." Full Review
"Already a chief contender for the most insightful, gut-wrenching, and beautiful play of 2016...Even through Ziegler leaps frantically about in time, she keeps the thread of narrative so steady that you can't lose it - you can only lose yourself in the tapestry of heartbreak that's woven as a result...Every member of the cast is sumptuously honest in their portrayals...Expect it to be a long while before there's another play more rewarding, more moving, and more magical than 'Boy.'" Full Review
"The 'Boy' at the center of the play is Adam, portrayed so sublimely by Bobby Steggert...There are no definitive antagonists here. Everyone is doing what they can to help a child who feels completely out of step with the rest of world, it’s just that their help is destroying him...Anna Ziegler’s writing is clean, clear, and concise. Not a word out of step. Her poetry of emotions all brought so beautifully to the stage by Linsay Firman’s subtle directorial hand. The cast is simply put – perfect." Full Review
"A fascinating and poignant play... Ziegler brilliantly dramatizes this profound situation in a series of crisp scenes inhabited by fully rendered characters...Linsay Firman’s arresting direction is an exemplary unison of physical staging and perfect performances. Ms. Firman ably presents the material with striking visual results and emotional resonance...That such difficult material has been put on the stage so successfully is a testament to the accomplished talents involved.'" Full Review
"'Boy' showcases Ziegler’s ability to build symphonies out of time travel, which she has mastered better than many science fiction experts...Steggert’s extraordinary performance as Adam/Samantha calls attention to itself precisely because of how unmannered it is...There is a sense of approachable intellectualism in 'Boy' that allows it to work both as conventional theatrical entertainment, but also as a souvenir that haunts you for many days to come." Full Review
"Before you imagine an issue-heavy, movie of the week drama, rest assured this is focused strictly on the characters at hand. You won't find any villains here...The empathy for everyone is what makes 'Boy' so good...Ziegler's intelligent script lays out this complex story with precision and grace. From the very start, the ideas of the show are allowed to breathe...Steggert's performance is of aching simplicity and truthfulness, never showy, never grand-standing." Full Review
"A true, very raw and tender story penned by Anna Ziegler...This show packs a powerful and real punch...Tough, tender, raw are the words that come to mind repeatedly when observing Mr. Steggert in his fine portrayal of the little boy trapped inside this little girl." Full Review
"The story itself might well have been fodder for tabloid headlines or emotionally-charged confessional TV shows, so great credit must go to the playwright and to its outstanding cast for avoiding all of that. 'Boy' strips itself of any weepy mawkishness and bores with honest intensity into the damaged soul of the character...The entire cast gives first-rate performances under Linsay Firman’s carefully focused direction. But it is Bobby Steggert who absolutely shines." Full Review
"Playwright Anna Ziegler takes a unique and imaginative approach to the timely issue of gender identity in the expertly written, inventively staged drama 'Boy.' The cast is uniformly excellent...Director Linsay Firman cleverly navigates through the years, dealing with complex issues concerning traditional gender roles in a gentle, tender manner that threatens to explode at any moment." Full Review
"The hot-button issue of gender identity is at the center of Anna Ziegler’s 'Boy,' a troubling and moving new play...Ziegler plots the course carefully, and under the direction of Linsay Firman, the flashbacks make sense and flow smoothly...Every so often Ziegler indulges in sentimentality, notably in a late scene...But the errors are few. Even if you’ve thought you’ve heard all the arguments about the topic, 'Boy' brings them home powerfully." Full Review
"'Boy' is the kind of play that unexpectedly grows on you. An indisputably fascinating subject certainly helps with that...With uncommon empathy and startling insight, 'Boy' gets to the heart of the conflict between medicine and science, in which the trial-and-error methods of the latter don't necessarily coincide with the Hippocratic mandate of the former." Full Review
"Ziegler's play occasionally retains the feel of a case history, but for the most part the playwright presents Adam's situation with a high degree of pathos...Linsay Firman directs 'Boy' in complete rapport with the science and humanity built into the work...Steggert gives a thoroughly remarkable performance, up there with the best of the 2015-2016 season...In sum, 'Boy' raises a cogent question and offers a highly compelling answer in a highly compelling manner." Full Review
"The ever-fine actor Bobby Steggert gives an intricately moving performance as a troubled, conflicted victim of an accident that has altered his life…'Boy' is an earnest exploration of an emotionally-charged subject and Bobby Steggert is just the actor who can convincingly depict the character and the situation in which he is locked. Linsay Firman has directed effectively, which, combined with the quality acting and writing, keeps the play steadily involving." Full Review
"In addition to the uniqueness of the plot, audiences will enjoy seeing how the set provides easy identification of where the story is at as well as strong acting...This ability to easily focus on when the play’s action is taking place allows viewers to focus on the struggle the boy has in determining how much nature plays in who we become sexually as an adult. That point is made very clear as a very satisfying ending is given. A strong cast provides the right tone for this controversial topic." Full Review
"It's a fascinating story and smartly structured...'Boy' would risk descending into the weepy Lifetime TV genre without Bobby Steggert's richly nuanced performance...Linsay Firman steers the rest of the cast to do their best with their roles. It's perhaps unfair to fault her or Paul Niebanck for failing to make Doctor Barnes come off less creepy and manipulative. " Full Review
"'Boy' is an important play calling into focus research that suggested that core gender identity becomes fully formed by age 3...The play is directed by Linsay Firman, who diligently moves the quick scenes forward and back..But 90 minutes doesn’t leave much time to delve deeper. So, at times, the feeling is that of an academic lesson in gender identity. But 90 minutes is worth your time to see Steggert’s fine performance as he ebbs and flows between his characters." Full Review
"The production is a handsome one, featuring a versatile, almost haunting set and smooth, character-driven direction from Linsay Firman. Ziegler's relatively high-concept structure unfolds seamlessly and builds to a touching conclusion...Though Ziegler doesn’t exactly break new ground in exploring the nature of gender identity, 'Boy' insightfully examines the emotional consequences of feeling out of place in one’s body." Full Review
"The zeitgeist’s obsessive fascination with issues of sexual confusion and gender identity continues with ‘Boy,’ an engrossing yet inconsistently satisfying new drama. Bobby Steggert plays a character inspired by a famous case of sexual reassignment surgery performed in 1966 on David Reimer. You may wish to Google 'David Reimer' to find out what happened to Adam’s source, and to wonder whether the note of promise on which the play ends might be not only misleading but disingenuous." Full Review
"Without makeup or costume changes, Bobby Steggert glides back and forth between genders and ages, all the while quietly conveying the anguish that the title character is experiencing. It's a lovely performance...Linsay Firman directs with unaffected sensitivity but the play is unable to shake the earnestness of an after-school special, which undermines some of its dramatic impact." Full Review
"'Boy' is filled with touching and powerful moments…For all its fascinating aspects, however, 'Boy,' on its glide path to a happy-ish ending, hedges its bets in a number of ways…Under Linsay Firman's sensitive direction, a strong cast does get at some of the deeper emotions only hinted at in the script…'Boy' certainly gives one plenty to think about, but in dealing with the most profound and displacing emotions that one can feel it ends up being surprisingly placid." Full Review
"The open-faced Mr. Steggert once again brings disquieting shadows to his naturally sunny presence. 'Boy' could use more of such shading...Given the difficulty of relating a multilayered tale that encompasses many years, Ms. Ziegler’s script—and Linsay Firman’s direction—are admirably comprehensible. But it often feels like the work of a scrupulous schoolteacher, eager to introduce a potentially off-putting but important topic to uninformed students without frightening them." Full Review
"Ziegler takes a delicate, restrained approach to her provocative subject matter. Running a mere 90 minutes, the play seems reluctant to delve too deeply into the myriad complexities of its main character's plight...The nature vs. nurture debate is a fascinating one...But 'Boy' fails to wrestle with the issue successfully, too often content to tell rather than show...Still, the play is moving in spots, thanks to the inherent pathos of the situation and Steggert's deeply felt performance." Full Review
"Anna Ziegler’s script is heartfelt but rocky, and Linsay Firman’s direction feels incomplete, as though the actors are still in rehearsal. The cast lay their hearts on the stage for this production, but they are, almost without exception, miscast in the roles as written...A strength is the story itself, and the message of hope and love...Though it could have been executed better, it is a strong starting point, and goes a great way to holding up an otherwise lackluster production." Full Review
See it if you like challenging stories that ring true emotionally. My mind did not wander once in this production. I loved it. Brilliantly understated
Don't see it if Don't see it if... I don't know... if you don't like theatre (?)
See it if you are into theater that opens your eyes and challenges your perceptions about the kind of world that we live in.
Don't see it if you want to stay forever safe in your own little cocoon, protected from the outside world but also dangerously out of touch with it.
See it if a very balanced account of gender identity told from several different perspectives. Sensitively dealt with the complex issue.
Don't see it if you want something light hearted or don't like theater that challenges you or makes you think.
Also Bobby Steggert's performance was mesmerizing.
See it if You want to see a truly remarkable leading performance by Bobby Steggert and an incredibly strong supporting cast.
Don't see it if You're uncomfortable with issues surrounding sex and gender.
See it if you want to see great acting, intense and gripping dialog. Mr Steggert gave an extraordinary performance. Loved the set.
Don't see it if you are stuck in the dark ages about gender identity
See it if you like a well-written, well-performed show about identity. If you're a fan of independent cinema, this is the show for you.
Don't see it if you want big effects and jazz hands.
See it if you want to see a masterful performance by Bobby Steggert of a troubled young man negotiating his gender and sexuality.
Don't see it if you require close to perfection in your dramas. This may not be the perfect play and it can be confusing: is he the boy or girl now? No prob
See it if You want to see a play that makes you think, and poses a 'what would you do' scenario. Don't be put off by the gratuitous poster.
Don't see it if Even though the themes involve children and could even be germane to a young child, Boy isn't for kids under 14 years old or so.
See it if You're the type of person who wants to see a play that purports itself as intellectual but really is a surface look on an interesting topic.
Don't see it if You're expecting something more than just another love story with a slight twist.
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