Boise's newest theater company, Black Linen Productions, opened their debut show Closer, written by Patrick Marber, last night to a packed house at The Linen Building.
The script, a scathing and blackly comedic exploration of the sexual politics between two couples, sizzles with tension buried between the lines of some seriously witty and smutty banter. To stage Closer—with its dialogue that makes audiences blush and its actions that people might not have the guts to try in the privacy of their own homes—a company has to be bold, its actors have to be fearless. If either is lacking, the complex and pregnant dialogue that occurs over the course of an onstage lap dance becomes fodder for giggling and the ferocity of a breakup conversation doesn't really hit.
For the most part, the burden was on the actors. And though their British accents occasionally slipped toward Irish, the elephant in the room was their age. Though all of the characters but one are supposed to be in their mid-30s, the actors were all in their early 20s. By the end of the play, one of the characters is twice divorced, despite looking like she would get carded for buying cigarettes.
The process of falling devastatingly into love is different over time and Black Linen did little to explore the unique nature of young love to match the actors' obvious youth. But the actors still committed themselves fully to their roles, and it was strangely and undeniably compelling to see such a young actress deliver some deadly serious dialogue about the taste of cum.
Despite director Joshua Rippey's nervous opening comments, in which he made sure the audience was very aware of the extremely adult themes present in the play, Black Linen Productions' staging of the play was brave. Whether it landed solidly may be a matter of how a viewer interprets it, but this appears to be a company willing to let it all hang out, and it will be interesting to see where they go next.