Pocket Theater put on a rousing show this past weekend. “The Boy with No Name” by Ev Miller, a dramatic play set in the 1950s, was performed at the Staller Center and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
This play was strong and emotional, and the story provided a lot of depth for the characters. All the characters were performed well. The character development was also top notch as the audience’s opinions on the main characters change as the story unfolds.
David Bonderdoff, a junior theater arts major, was particularly strong performing as Eddy. Playing a kid of special needs, he comes off as lovable but also frustrating at times. Still, he shows the character’s good willed nature and humanity.
He plays well off of Alex Young, an undecided sophomore who plays Allen, his father. Alex’s character is played perfectly as he is multilayered. At times you love him and agree with his actions, and at others he comes off as selfish.
Allen’s flaws become more and more apparent as the play moves forward. His alcoholism and infidelity change the perception of his character. Though those flaws rear their heads, he shows a redeemable qualities when he gives continuous love to Eddy and defends him from Kathy’s harm.
Page Borak’s performance as Kathy, Eddy’s mother, is also incredibly strong. The way she plays Kathy as a guilty, drug addicted and slightly delusional mother was done well. While she has all those flaws and treats Eddy badly throughout the play, the viewer still cannot help but feel bad for her character.
She lashes out at Eddy because she feels at fault for Eddy being disabled. At one point she blames Eddy’s condition on the fact that she and Allen conceived while they were not married.
The story really does a good job of making both parents flawed so it is hard to side with either.
The play shows a good representation of what it would be like to have a family member with special needs. It is very dark but hopeful and the theme of the importance of family really comes across this play.
Shandel Lanice, the director, said in her note “I wanted to use my passion for theatre as a catalyst for social awareness and change, and I wanted to captivate the Stony Brook community with an intriguing, dramatic piece.” The play brings across this issue in a heartfelt and realistic way.
Chris Wilson, a junior computer science major, said “the play really surprised me. When I think of plays I think of something more upbeat. But this was different, that’s what I liked the most.”
Abe Tischalman, a sophomore physics major, thought the play was great because of the setting. “I feel like the setting brought a lot to the play. The play would have been so much different if it was set in the present day because we do much more to help disabled children than people did back then.”
Plenty of plays have themes of family issues, alcoholism, and broken marriages, but this play differentiates itself from others with the social issues it addresses. The incredible acting is what really brings “The Boy With No Name” together.