Written by Tom Griffin, “The Boys Next Door” explores the lives of four mentally challenged men living in a group home in the Boston area. It’s structured in a series of blackout-style brief vignettes covering several months of their lives together. The Players Theatre production, directed by Elliott Raines, offers an intimate view of being handicapped and caring for the handicapped. The play goes beyond that simple requirement, though, and, through its script, as well as the sensitive acting, becomes both humorous and touching.
Dylan Jones is extremely convincing as Arnold Wiggins, a hyper, talkative man who’s obsessed with all things Russian and, when under stress, compulsively repeats the word “nyet” and threatens to emigrate.
Stephen Pustai is adorably sweet as Norman Bulansky, whose IQ is big enough to allow him to work at a doughnut shop. The doughy treats seem to have taken over his entire life, however, except for his ability to court Sheila (charmingly played by Ellie Pattison), who lives at another group home and is equally enthusiastic about him, especially after he presents her with a large bunch of keys, the object of her desire for as long as she can remember.
Adam Garrison is highly believable as Lucien P. Smith, a large man who’s so debilitated that he can’t even read, although he checks out enough books at the library to be accused of faking it by the state board.
The plot twists when schizophrenic Barry Klemper, who believes he’s a golf pro (nicely played by Ron Pearson), is confronted by his abusive father, Mr. Klemper, in a fairly harrowing scene, delivered with uncomfortable conviction by Barry Look.
Jack Palmer, the men’s social worker, thoughtfully rendered by Ross Boehringer, shakes up the group with his reluctant, yet understandable, announcement that he has to leave them for a job in the outside world that’s more remunerative and less frustrating.
Paul Hutchison makes successful appearances as Mr. Hedges, Mr. Corbin and Senator Clarke, and Lynne Doyle takes two bright turns in the roles of Mrs. Fremus and Mrs. Warren.
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16 The Gloria Musicae Singers in a Munchtime Musicales Performance
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
17 Piero Rivolta's Book Launch Party for One Life, Many Lives.
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
18 Paper Laine: Gracie Kennedy Solo-Show @ madeby Gallery Ringling College of Art and Design
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Piero Rivolta and his wife, Rachele, opened their home to the Pines of Sarasota March 26.
Team Tony seeks volunteers
Team Tony Cancer Foundation of Sarasota/Manatee counties is looking for cancer survivors to volunteer at Florida Cancer Specialists oncology units.
Drum kits coming to downtown
Noting the success of Sarasota Keys, an interactive art project that placed six public pianos around downtown, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County has launched a parallel initiative — with drum sets.