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Golden Boy

a Drama
by Clifford Odets

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 14th Street Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 697

SHOWING : January 24, 2003 - February 23, 2003



Joe Bonaparte, changes his life forever when he gives up his violin to pursue boxing. This masterpiece, set amidst the Great Depression, celebrats the value of art in our community."Back in the day when playwrights used manual typewriters, puffed Lucky Strikes and stayed up late hacking out rewrites, there was Clifford Odets (1906- 1963)" Wendell Brock AJC Directed by Heidi Cline and featuring Damon Boggess, Melanie Colvert, Isma'il ibn Conner, Agnes Harty, Gerald Kemp, Joe Knezevich, Allen O'Reilly, Anthony Rodriguez, Al Stilo, J.A.S. Sustrich, & Bruce Taylor.

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Knockout Punch
by Mama Alma
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
This is a strange play about a strange time full of strange characters to whom I feel little connection, but by god Damon Boggess and Agnes Harty made me care about them nevertheless. It's a vestige of my age and upbringing that I care more about the guy's journey than the gal's and I think Harty had the more difficult emotional task. Her character is one tough cookie, but you have to see her conflict, her struggle with her choices, in order to care about those choices, and did I mention she's a tough cookie? Harty navigates this paradox gracefully, never giving away too much, her facade gradually spidering like the glaze on fine old china. Beautiful, serviceable china, that you cry over when it's broken.

But the true revelation in this piece is Boggess. He's one of those rare actors that the spot always seems to shine on, even back when he was doing small parts at the Shakespeare Festival. He's not a physically imposing man, but that works here. He's slimmed down, buffed up, and is wound tighter than a spring coil. And Angry: Angry at his neighborhood, at his pop, at his brother, at life in general. The boxing ring gives him a place to focus that anger.

There's one scene that makes this play, and proves Boggess' worth (and make no mistake, Boggess is the Golden Boy). Joe's father has presented him with a violin for his birthday. It's actually a late present, since Joe had a fight scheduled that overshadowed the intended presentation. The violin becomes more of a going away present, then, as Joe prepares to go on tour, fighting the bouts his manager has lined up. Pop gives him the violin, and Joe is entranced (it's a superbly beautiful instrument). He lifts it from the case, lovingly strokes the wood, fingers the bow, fits it to his chin, readies his fingers, touches the strings and elicits the barest whisper of sound, hardly more than a sigh presaging a kiss. Then he stops. Puts away the violin and gives it back to his father, barking "return it." Boggess manages to convey, in those few minutes, all the yearning for and anguish over the road not taken.

Expertly directed by Heidi Cline (when does that woman sleep?). Very nice work by Melanie Colvert as Joe's comfortably barefoot sister, Bruce Taylor as a fight gangsta, and Isma'il ibn Conner as Joe's trainer. Excellent set, minimalist in the boxing world, overstuffed at home. If there are still tickets left in this, its final weekend, go check out Golden Boy.



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