DOWNSTATE Today (Possible Spoilers)
Posted by: sergius 06:14 pm EDT 11/05/22

Another provocation from the disputatious Bruce Norris. This one aims to be incendiary as it sympathizes, effectively, with juvenile sex offenders who are subject to all manner of lasting punishments which are presented as sometimes—or often?—unfair and extreme. This may well be the case, and, anyway, it’s certainly an under explored subject. The play is insistently, disturbingly compelling—all of the actors are just superb—but it’s somewhat marred by Norris’ tendency toward contrivance in the service of argument. Here, a victim confronts his abuser in ways that are not altogether convincing. While the ensuing debate is entirely engrossing, I wondered if it could have been as persuasively advanced without as much bald manipulation, Additionally, Norris telegraphs a surprise long before it arrives. Nonetheless, and these structural matters aside, DOWNSTATE is gripping theatre, as startling and confrontational as it means to be.

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