You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Chalk Boy

Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk's collective psyche in "The Chalk Boy." Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant plot threads. Helmed with admirable fluidity and pacing by Courtney Sale, this production features an accomplished four-woman ensemble that manifests a plethora of colorful, well-realized denizens of the fictional town of Clear Creek, Wash.

With:
Lauren - Amy Patrice Golden Trisha - Claire Bocking Penny - Sarah Rosenberg Breanna - Sonora Chase

Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant plot threads. Helmed with admirable fluidity and pacing by Courtney Sale, this production features an accomplished four-woman ensemble that manifests a plethora of colorful, well-realized denizens of the fictional town of Clear Creek, Wash.

Striving to present a loosely constructed oral history of a macabre incident that recently plagued their town, narrator Trisha (Claire Bocking) and her pal Lauren (Amy Patrice Golden) offer an unsentimental, occasionally hilarious portrait of a former pioneer village that has degenerated into a strip mall on the edge of a major highway. In their effort to encompass all the town’s doings, they reluctantly enlist the aid of two outer circle classmates: Wiccan wannabe Penny (Sarah Rosenberg) and neophyte lesbian Breanna (Sonora Chase).

Played out over the course of four weeks, Conkel’s plot cleverly entwines the chaotic daily meanderings of adolescence with the very real disappearance of classmate Jeff Chalk. Knowing that the mysterious departure of teenage boys has been a recurring event for decades in Clear Creek, the girls face individual catharses as they flow in and out of alliances with one another. The scripter overstates the machinations of these young women, but the performances are first rate.

Rosenberg burrows into the angst-ridden psyche of Penny, who has taken up Wiccan rituals in her effort to separate herself from her peers. With wild-eyed resolve, Rosenberg’s relentlessly narcissistic teen maniacally attempts to infuse herself into the town’s growing concern over the fate of the lost boy.

Offering much-needed emotional counterbalance is Chase’s understated outing as sexually ambivalent Breanna, who is increasingly drawn to Penny emotionally and physically. Despite having to deal with her confusing hormonal urges, Chase’s Breanna projects a calming maturity that is missing in the other girls.

Bocking is on target as the gossip-mongering, perennial hanger-on Trisha, exuding an intriguing amalgam of physical sensuality and constant anxiety that she will be left out. Bocking also offers impressive turns as a comically repressed schoolteacher and the haunting visage of Chalk that invades Penny’s dreams.

Aside from embodying the persona of perky, squeaky-clean Lauren, Golden offers a compelling portrait of Penny’s high-energy loser of a mom who would like nothing better than for her daughter to become a lesbian and be taken care of by Breanna’s upscale family. Golden is also quite effective in her brief portrayal as a racist trucker who offers Breanna his own discomforting analysis of what might have happened to Jeff.

“The Chalk Boy,” which is having simultaneous premiere outings in Los Angeles and Gotham, reaches a compelling climax with the resolution of Jeff’s fate. The scripter’s inclusion of a denouement chronicling the future of the four town girls is tedious and unnecessary.

The Chalk Boy

Company of Angels at the Alexandria Hotel; 48 seats; $15 top

Production: A Company of Angels and the Management presentation of a play in two acts by Josh Conkel. Directed by Courtney Sale.

Crew: Sets, Brandon Sale; costumes, Heather Galbraith; lighting, Justin Huen; sound, Adam Swiderski; stage manager, Ricki McKissock. Opened Sept. 4, 2008. Reviewed Sept. 5. Runs through Oct. 12. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast: Lauren - Amy Patrice Golden Trisha - Claire Bocking Penny - Sarah Rosenberg Breanna - Sonora Chase

More Scene

  • UnReal Athena Film Festival

    How Trump Beating Clinton Impacted the Gender Politics of 'UnReal' Season 3

    Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant […]

  • 'Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and

    'Unsolved' Stars Point Out Racial Injustice in Biggie and Tupac Murder Cases

    Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant […]

  • Taura Stinson, Common, and Diane WarrenVariety

    Common, Pasek and Paul, Diane Warren Reveal Inspiration Behind Oscar-Nominated Songs

    Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant […]

  • 'Game Night' film premiere

    'Game Night': Director, Writer Talk 'Straddling Genres' and the Influence of 'Get Out'

    Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant […]

  • Esquire 'Mavericks of Hollywood' party

    Terry Crews on His Sexual Assault Lawsuit: 'If I Don’t Get Justice, Nobody Can'

    Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant […]

  • 20th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards

    'I, Tonya,' 'The Shape of Water' Win at 2018 Costume Designers Guild Awards

    Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant […]

  • Vera Wang

    Vera Wang, Olivia Munn Celebrate American Designers at Variety, WWD and CFDA's Runway to Red Carpet Event

    Scripter Josh Conkel captures the frustration of small-town girls struggling to make sense of their claustrophobic lives while dealing with a specter haunting the townfolk’s collective psyche in “The Chalk Boy.” Conkel has a keen ear for the often comical, self-absorbed posturing and casual vulgarities of contemporary teen-spiel but overburdens his thematic throughline with redundant […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content