Monday, August 17, 2009

A New Star in the Playwriting Firmament - Joey Pelletier's "Where Moments Hung Before"

On Saturday evening, my son, Ti, invited me to join him and some friends to see a performance of "Where Moments Hung Before" at the Boston Playwrights' Theater on the BU campus. This World Premiere of Joey Pelletier's play was presented by Boston Actors Theater. The last performance (for now) occurred yesterday, so I am not writing about this play to try to convince you to go see it. I am writing to make you aware of a young playwright who should be on your radar screen.

The action of the play centers on the funeral and subsequents events of Jasper, who died of complications from AIDS. But this is more than an "AIDS play." The spirit of the recently departed Jasper hovers - literally and figuratively - over many of the scenes in the play and over each of the other characters - a motley collection of family members, friends, and lovers. A very capable ensemble cast tells the story on Jasper's life and death in a very moving and evocative way.

There are three aspects to Pelletier's writing and story telling that I found particularly noteworthy.

1) He made me care about each character - even the characters that were not particularly likable. This is not an easy feat to accomplish.

2) He did a masterful job of blending pathos with comic relief - allowing the audience first to taste and to ingest the pain that the characters were experiencing, and then to "cleanse the palate" with a good belly laugh to prepare for the next course of pathos.

3) Over the course of the two acts, he creatively paired each character in a scene with one other character in a series of dyads. The result was that the audience received over time a full spectrum view of each character, with the other characters serving as prisms to show each individual in different lights.

For a young playwright, Pelletier shows great sophistication and even greater promise. I look forward to seeing his next works. I will keep you posted so you can join me next time.


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