Follow three young misfits in a Salem, Oregon classroom as they discover that they are linked by a sex scandal that has rocked their town. Part of Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
PURE gets silly
This is something different for Charleston's top contemporary theater company; it's lighter than the dramas PURE Theatre is best known for. Chalk the optimistic feel down to its leads, who portray a trio of high school freaks and geeks. They discover dark goings-on in the staff room and try to figure out the best way to tell the world. What better way than a televised debate?
It's full of youthful energy
Speech & Debate's best asset is its talented, effervescent cast. As in the original run, the characters are played by Sullivan Graci-Hamilton, Will Northcutt, C. Kathleen Donnelly, and the excellent Addison Dent. "The actors were phenomenal last year," says co-director (and Sullivan's mom) Sharon Graci. "It was a good piece, and this time it will be even better." Graci will perfect set pieces like the rolling blackboards that were used to great effect in the original run, flipping to create new locations or reveal different props.
Young playwright Stephen Karam turned real-world headlines into Off-Broadway success, building the plot around an adult who trolls for minors in online chatrooms. This sordid theme doesn't bog the whole play down, but it allows Karam to examine the merits of innocence and jaded wisdom. The characters display both, especially when their debate doesn't go as planned — with achingly funny results. Graci says PURE chose to remount Speech & Debate after its summer '09 run because it is "accessible and comedic." It's also very different from the company's other Piccolo offering, Year of Magical Thinking. By juxtaposing the plays, PURE shows how versatile it can be.