“After all the terrible things I do” is a nearly two-hour, two person gabfest from the Huntington Theatre Company that could use a good editing and a bit of an edge.
Playwright A. Ray Pamatmat tackles the subject of bullying seemingly gay kids from a couple of potentially interesting angles, but the story tends to get lost in its own wordiness, at times meandering into Lifetime movie territory. Add a flimsy plot with big reveals you can figure out before you’re even comfortable in your seat, and you begin to look for distractions.
The most entertaining one comes courtesy of Clint Ramos’ superb set. The story unfolds in an independent bookstore that Ramos designed to include 1,500-plus books on shelves. When the action becomes dull, it’s fun to squint and see how many titles you can read. Many of them are current, which is an impressive attention to detail.
The store is owned by Linda (Tina Chilip), a divorced, Philippine immigrant living her version of the American dream. Daniel (Zachary Booth) is a recent college grad who has chosen to live with his mother in his childhood home while working at this bookstore for $7 an hour. From the moment they meet, it’s clear neither of them is telling the whole story, and the plot is essentially just their truths unfolding.
Chilip nicely reveals Linda’s discomfort through incessant movement and a subtle inability (or maybe refusal) to look at Daniel when speaking. Booth is equally impressive, though his inability to be comfortable in his own skin manifests with a somewhat detached demeanor and a distractingly incessant need to tuck his hair behind his ears.
The duo nicely tug at your heartstrings while gradually revealing the raw edges of guilt and shame that own each of them. If only Pamatmat could find the words for their feelings.
If you go
“after all the terrible things I do”
Through June 21
BCA Wimberly Theatre, 527 Tremont St., Boston
$15 – $83