While we were in New York City, we took advantage of our friend’s membership in the Theater Development Fund to purchase discount tickets to an off-Broadway show.
The play was based on an intense true story that aired on This American Life. The story begins when David Holthouse is seven years old, played convincingly by Roderick Hill. The actor does an excellent job of portraying a child at different ages and as an adult without giving in to the instinct that many might have to overplay children.
In case you are someone who pays attention to trigger warnings, perhaps I should disclose now that the play revolves around the rape of a child.
Recently relocated to Anchorage, David’s family had been invited to have cocktails with neighbors at their house. While the grown-ups chatter on about sports and life in Alaska, David is blithely sent off to the basement to hang out with the teenage boy who pretends to be a big-brother figure for a while but ends up violently raping him.
The play focuses on David trying to recover while keeping it all a secret through his adulthood. He becomes a journalist, moves to Denver, and seeks therapy, but he learns that his rapist has also moved to Denver. He comes to the conclusion that in order to move on with his own life and also to protect other children who could come into contact with this duplicitous monster, he must murder him.
The set design is noteworthy for its attention to detail and its flexibility in becoming the backdrop to many separate scenes while also portraying the different eras portrayed within the play. The Atari game immediately places one solidly in the early 70s, and the walls of photos connected by strings illustrate David’s intricate plans to kill his rapist.
Stalking the Bogeyman is an intense, worthwhile evening of theater. It is playing at an New World Stages on West 50th Street, where on any night there are five different performances going on at once—a veritable multiplex of live theater, which attests to the robust theater scene in Manhattan. It’s encouraging to know that NYC is still a place where one can see intimate drama as well as huge Broadway productions.