“The Dream of the Burning Boy” by The Boston Teen Acting Troupe

“The Dream of the Burning Boy” Written by David West Read; Directed by Jack Serio; Presented by The Boston Teen Acting Troupe in Hall A at The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at The Boston Center for The Arts, 527 Tremont St in Boston’s South End. Performances April 3rd through the 12th, 2014.

For something different and a nice change of pace, why not check out “The Dream
of the Burning Boy” at The Boston Center for The Arts? What’s different
about it you ask? The entire show is produced, directed, designed and acted by
teenagers. While the inexperience can sometimes lead to a wide range of
results, including everything from uneven performances to moving and surprising
professionalism, it’s always fun and exciting to watch young people, bitten by
the acting bug, working earnestly at their craft. It is the early stages for
most of them but already there is obvious talent shining forth on the stage in
Hall “A” at The Calderwood Pavilion.

of the actors in this show from The Boston Teen Acting Troupe (BTAT) are
students attending Milton High School or Boston College High School, with the
exception of the very talented Barbara Woodall a student at Dexter-Southfield High School in
Braintree. The BTAT has been making a name for itself in its efforts to dispel
the notion of “bad high school theatre”. They have been taking on
difficult plays not normally attempted by young actors. As a result they have
been the focus of articles in local and national news outlets including NPR

the story by David West Read focuses on events at a High School that could be
anywhere in America. Dane, a popular and successful student, has suddenly
passed away much too early and it sets off a series of conflicts and emotions
among his friends, family and faculty.

characters struggle with the honesty of their reactions. Like young people
everywhere, they want to be true to themselves but they are faced with the
politically correct responses they witness from adults. Does dying early
suddenly make someone a better person than they were in real life? Reading the
obituaries written by adults who knew the child less intimately than their
peers, one would think so. The previously mentioned Barbara Woodall was
excellent in voicing this teen-aged frustration. As Rachel, the sister of Dane,
she sparkles as the one who seems to be handling the death of her brother
better than most – or is she? Her calm unemotional exterior begins to seem more
like denial and when she encounters her brother’s girlfriend and another mutual
friend being much too intimate, her facade begins to crack. Ms. Woodall nearly
steals the show with her funny, caustic barbs that eventually lead to some
moving and highly emotional scenes. Her acting skills elevated the show to
another level. Alongside her were strong performances from Garret Sager as Dane
in a small but well-acted role, and Evy Oliverio as Chelsea the deceitful
girlfriend. Mr. Sager brought sensitivity and dignity to his character, and Ms.
Oliverio captured the feeling of today’s teen with humor, passion and
believability. If I could have made one change to the line-up I would have
loved to have seen Max Gustafson (Larry, the teacher with a secret) and Sam
Vita (Steve, the newbie guidance counselor) switch roles. It feels like that
would have been a better match of the actor to the role. Ronan Smith as Dane’s
friend Kyle was excellent and brought a certain Anthony Michael Hall
likeability to the character.

an environment where young people are pushing themselves to the limits to
deliver better than average youth theater, there are bound to be some unexpected
moments like Larry the English teacher misspelling a word on the blackboard
unintentionally, or a confusing sound effect at the outset that conveyed a
gunshot rather than a deadfall. But this is part of the fun and excitement of
youth theater. Teens giving their all, putting it out there for your
enjoyment, and successfully delivering some surprising moments that, due to
their unique experiences, only they can deliver. I highly recommend seeing this
show before it’s gone. For more info, go to: http://www.bostonteenactingtroupe.com/#!dream-of-the-burning-boy/c2149


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