By Kristin Walters
Roy can’t navigate his life of regrets without a mouth full of blasphemy, bigotry and boiling rage. Convinced that a curse has caused his sexual inadequacies, failed romances, lack of employment opportunities and disappointing offspring, Roy drags Cody, his childhood friend and high school quarterback, on a revenge mission against the ref of their homecoming game whose bad call cost their team the championship decades earlier.
Roy’s initial belligerence portends violence, or at least, a big blow-up, but the drama quickly fizzles: Roy’s too immature to fight, and the reasoning for his revenge is too incredible. Through Roy, playwright James Still portrays the growing problem of American entitlement and dependency. Roy blames anyone but himself for his circumstances and refuses to take action without the leadership of his friend Cody. Who could possibly thrive without direction from the quarterback?
Roy’s quarterback, Cody, has one foot out the door the whole time, and Steve Kay plays this sentiment too well. He never seems entirely present; his character lacks intentionality even as he takes significant actions. Along with a few great lines, Dennis Za?ek, playing Wallace, carries the show. He provides subtle layers to the aging unfazed ref, which he reveals in a cool, controlled manner, offering a bit of mystery so that the audience remains constantly invested in the promise of his next line.
The script leapfrogs from theme to theme, creating an unfocused narrative and leaving a disjointed portrait of characters that luxuriate in their painful nostalgia and that the audience doesn’t have any reason to particularly like. It’s a play that tries too hard with characters that try too little. Wallace and Cody attempt to teach Roy that there’s only hope in the loss of hope, an adoption of apathy, and the sole consolation in life is a bit of company. Depressing, right?