"Talk about what you saw here tonight," said Chris Kepler, director of King Kekaulike High School's production of "Big Boys Don't Cry," after the curtain closed Saturday night. The show invited controversy, with its unapologetic betrayal of some of the most troubling problems society faces, such as alcoholism, domestic abuse, teenage violence, bigotry and poverty. The show throws into sharp relief both the pressing and nuanced nature of these problems. Where does the responsibility lie? Is any individual ever entirely to blame?
The play is set in a courtroom, where Guy and Ethel Barnes (Cameron Sparks and Katarina Kress) are on trial for allegedly abusing their teenage son, Lenny (Isaac Rauch). Flashbacks reveal each character's side of the story, and often, his or her bias, too.
The drama students at King Kekaulike did a great job tackling the heavy themes and complex characters. Sparks, as Guy Barnes, was a strong actor who powerfully portrayed both Guy's arrogance and his deep sense of responsibility for his family. Katarina Kress was timid and desperate as Ethel Barnes, Guy's alcoholic wife.
Young actors Cameron Sparks (left) and Isaac Rauch.
Isaac Rauch delivered a compelling performance as the troubled, violent, but sympathetic Lenny Barnes, Ethel Barnes' teenage son.
The two lawyers in the case, Mr. Lee (Joshua Berman) and Ms. Roberts (Tatiana Camit), did an admirable job delivering a huge number of lines. Berman was effective as the sarcastic defense attorney. Camit commanded the stage as the persuasive prosecutor.
Other talented actors included Marissa Godinez as Lenny's worried girlfriend, Brenda; Joshua Johnson as the taunting bully, Fred; Shawn Naone-Burger as the strict but fair-minded judge; Mike Minkler as the cocky police chief; Sara Kilday as Lenny's sweet little sister, Verlene; Josiah Freitas as the pushy debt-collector, Mr. Wheeler; Larry Latta as Guy's friend Bob Amando; Jaya Bauer as the gruff bailiff; Lindsay Ramos and Tiana Bielous as Officers Kramer and Garcia; Lawakua Joy as Dr. Banks; Haley Banks as Melissa Aikins; Nahimana Wilson as Kathy; Dylan Thomas as Richard; and Haley Bynum as Jean Solia. Samantha Prince, Sarah McGowan, Cayley Bender, Palani Rocha, Kilohoku Akahi, Solana Hablewitz-Prieto and Sami Prince played the other students and supporting characters.
"Big Boys Don't Cry" shows 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students or staff with any school ID. Wear a football jersey on Super Bowl Sunday and pay half-price. The production may not be appropriate for children under 11. Tickets will be available at the door.
"Big Boys Don't Cry" is a powerful examination of vitally important but often ignored social issues. See the show and join in the dialogue.