Sunday, October 07, 2012

A Lesson in Breaking the Rules

SEASIDE — It was dark and clear as I slid the car into a narrow spot close to the Seaside Repertory Theatre, only to see a sign that the spot was reserved for visitor check-ins. Surely that’s just for business hours, I thought. Then I grumbled to myself that it was too narrow for the car anyway (surrounded by oversized SUVs) and I backed out.
I don’t generally break rules, and I told myself that was why nothing was ever easy. What would it hurt, after all? Who could it harm?
We circled through the square, packed with pedestrians, not an empty parking space in sight. Cars and SUVs ahead of us waited for openings, so we passed them and turned behind the Central Square buildings in search of a ready spot.
It was Friday night in tourist heaven, and cars were packed in every which way. (I was sure someone who was not a visitor checking in would have already grabbed the space I’d vacated, and they wouldn’t think twice about it.)
We found a spot a few blocks away from the theater and strolled cobblestone streets. The full moon reflected on the white buildings cast plenty of light.
Down narrow lanes we could see the square, where families gathered for the weekly movie to be projected on a screen in the amphitheatre. I wondered if they would notice the warning as the movie began — the one forbidding public display of the film — and if anyone would even consider not breaking the rules.
Who were they harming? No one I could think of.
We had come to view “Den of Thieves,” the latest play produced by the REP. It’s the story of Maggie (Megan Bode), a shoplifter looking to change her life, who gets tangled up in a crime with Paul (Alan Daugherty), her sponsor in a 12-step program, at the urging of Flaco (Brook Stetler), her jealous, drug-dealing ex-boyfriend, who brings along Boochie (Teance Blackburn), his new girlfriend, a topless dancer.
Max Flicker, Justin Baldwin and Bruce Collier play supporting roles as gangsters. The show is very funny, but is recommended for mature audiences because of adult language and themes (much of it thanks to Boochie, whose favorite “f” word is not the first one you might think of).
Caught trying to steal $750,000 in drug money, the quartet become prisoners in a mob boss’ den. Given until sunrise to choose one person to die and three to donate their thumbs, they engage in verbal gymnastics as they struggle for self-awareness and self-acceptance.
That’s the kind of thing that happens to you when you break the rules. Later in the storyline, a gangster is shot dead. Why? Why do you think — he broke the rules. Let that be a lesson.
After the show, we walked back behind the businesses to our parking spot, past dozens of empty spaces. The town was emptying out, but in the park, the families who had gathered on blankets and lawn chairs still were watching as an extraterrestrial prepared for a return voyage home.
“Be good,” he said.

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