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Enigmatic Burn too hot for schools
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Enigmatic Burn too hot for schools

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Burn
Live Girls Theatre
Through August 9


The young adults who formed the Young American Theatre Company did so after deciding that there were many plays out there in the world that were important for teens to see, but were too controversial for most high school programs to accept as production material. This is their second summer season, as they build up a cadre of slightly younger adults to carry on, so they can move on into their college pursuits.

The current production, Burn, by Deborah Gearing, fits the bill of their mission. A young woman is physically assaulted, probably raped, and most of her peers know it. A teen who is an ostracized outsider to the community is the only one who seems to care. The play is provocative and unlikely to be accepted for production at almost any high school, yet the characters are all teens.

Last year's choices were interesting, provocative, and easier to understand conceptually. Burn is very enigmatic and atmospheric. It's not easy to figure out what is going on. It's also a challenging script because it's very clearly by a British author, with British slang. Perhaps wisely, YATC decided not to use British accents, but just to use the language as written, so they didn't change the slang to American slang. They might have been better off to take the bull by the horns and change the wording, as is sounds kind of stilted to say "my mum" when everything else is Americanized.

Having seen last summer's productions, it is very nice to see progression in Sam Tilles' maturing acting style. He is more assured and more intense and allows himself to be more vulnerable in his performance. Birdman, his character, carries the play. If Tilles were less assured, the evening would not work nearly as well.

There is no specific credit for the set, so assuming it's company-designed, the company did a nice job suggesting a beach hidey-hole and a cluttered, abandoned wilderness area, which includes a refrigerator. While many of the company are competent actors, the cohesion of the group is clearly also improving in every theatrical "company" type of activity. For more information, contact youngamericanstheatre@gmail.com or go to www.brownpapertickets.com or call 800-838-3006.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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