Zeitgeist Stage Company has a solid reputation for finding the quirkiest scripts. You’re almost always in for a surprise. A BRIGHT NEW BOISE by Samuel D. Hunter (playing through Oct. 20th) starts off like a strange little comedy about clerks in a hobby supply store---until it turns into NO EXIT.
Hunter’s characters are a bunch of endearing misfits trying their darnedest to find meaning in life despite their meaningless jobs selling styrofoam balls and sealing wax. The new guy (Victor Shopov) gingerly introduces himself to his fellow workers when one of them announces that “I’m deliberately trying to make you uncomfortable:” Turns out that’s his mission in life. David Lutheran gives a hilarious performance as the clerk with an endless knowledge of inventory and an artistic agenda.
Shopov manages brilliantly to put a face (and a tortured soul) on Christian apocalyptics who pin their hopes on the end of the world. It’s his character who drives the plot into disturbing terrain. Hunter almost pulls off the dark detour but I, for one, wanted more comedy because of the delightful banter. It’s director David Miller’s cast that makes the show crackle.
Zach Winston is perfection as the quintessential prickly teenager struggling with adolescence/identity issues/everything. Janelle Mills is a scream as the store manager with the mouth. You can’t wait for her to try another abysmal attempt at her brand of “conflict resolution.” Dakota Shepard is so sweet and wacky you wish she had more to do with the story. Her absurd ideas come out sounding eminently reasonable until you weigh what she’s said. What a rich collection of oddballs. Don’t miss meeting them in Zeitgeist’s BOISE.
P.S. Wednesdays are pay what you can (with a minimum of $7). Where else can you find a bargain like that!