Ignorance is not an excuse. A reason, arguably, but it doesn’t grant absolution. As mankind backtracks on long-standing definitions of gender so tightly clutched that medical science swept in to create surgical and psychological procedures and therapies in order to force our children into society’s tiny boxes, none of us has the right to remain ignorant of the history of this epidemic. We must put on a coat of vigilance that fights against the reconstruction and reprogramming of any person without their adult, advised and educated consent. For we are those children, and those children are us.
When answering their highest purpose, the arts are here to lead us to the type of self-questioning that sends us on a road of introspection, conversation and further study. Playwright Anna Ziegler’s play “Boy” is one tough ninety minutes in the theater and one of the few ninety-minute plays I have seen in years that earned the right to tell my senior-aged kidneys that they could just damn wait. Yet this pointed and specific exploration of the horrors of a real-live male-identifying person who was accidentally maimed and then forced to grow up presenting as female holds moments of great humor. None of the characters are painted black or white. Societal pressure to conform is the villain here; we all are its victims.
In the leading role, Theo Germaine is simply breathtaking. The story transitions, as does the protagonist, back and forth in time and during every moment Germaine is completely believable. There is a light inside them that radiates, no matter the moment the character is living. Our favorite actors have that “it-quality” that is outside their work, while informing all of it. Here is a soul to watch, for they are primed to do great things, theatrically or otherwise.
Now take yourself to school. Grant yourself a hard ninety minutes of brilliant theater that will keep you vibrating for days to come. Then talk about it. Make a study of the story behind the play. Start to ask the questions of others that the theater asks of you. (Aaron Hunt)
TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 West Wellington, (773)281-8463, timelinetheatre.com, $40-$54. Through March 18.