Barefooted Truth

TeenTix member Parker M.'s take on 600 HIGHWAYMEN's Employee of the Year @ On the Boards

Employee Of The Year 600 Highwaymen Photo By Maria Baranova
Photo by Maria Baranova

The words “let go,” sends five girls, ages nine and ten, into a surreal routine. What must be meticulously choreographed, seems somehow loose and reminiscent. One girl dances as if completely alone, twirling and waving her arms gracefully. The others run back and forth across the tiny stage, arms locked, unified as one. They trade giggles and grins as they jostle up and down. This scene is beautiful.

Besides the laughter, the only sounds are the slapping of bare feet on the stage floor, like rain on thick windowpane. Rows of tulips, or the gentle sway of a willow branch in the wind. A robin crossing my vision, alighting and settling. The acting is pure: intentionally unintentional. At its best, Employee of the Year achieves the delicate beauty of nature itself.

The breathless monologues of loss and discovery, tragedy and introspection, capitalized by thick silence, are gripped with tension. The story builds in familial complexity only to evaporate in an overwhelming glow of joy. The age of these actresses is the troupe’s greatest weapon. At some point, we lose our ability to effortlessly imagine. These girls lose themselves on stage. It is real. They are real. They giggle. They breathe when they sing. They cough when their throats dry up. The long, intensely observant, monologues and narration almost feel like instant creation within their simple square of light. There is no script – this is ecstatic, imaginative, off-the-cuff storytelling. This is see and say. Feel and react.

This reaction to On the Boards' presentation of 600 HIGHWAYMEN's Employee of the Year first appeared on the On the Boards blog.

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