Men On Boats
The SpeakEasy Stage, Boston
Reviewed by Bobby Franklin
Men On Boats looked to be an interesting, thought provoking, and even edgy play. Unfortunately, it was none of those things. The story based on John Wesley Powel’s 1869 expedition down the Colorado River to the Grand Canyon has a cast made up of non male actors in the roles of the explorers. It is an interesting concept and one I was looking forward to.
Author Jaclyn Backhaus is quoted in an interview when asked if she would call it a feminist play that “I would like it to be one, if only to piss off the six or seven old white men who walked out during the first half of this past run.” Well, as an old white man all I can say to Ms Backhaus is the only thing about this play that pissed me off was the extraordinary tediousness of it. I would have been happy to have been offended, challenged, or provoked by this production. I appreciate edgy work even if I don’t agree with it. However, this was far from provocative. It was simply a dreadful waste of 100 minutes. If she wants to make people angry, and that is a very legitimate thing to do with theatre, she needs to do better than this. I would much rather be offended than bored to death.
I have always admired the SpeakEasy Stage Company for its willingness to put on new and challenging works. And I have no doubt they will continue to do so. We are lucky to have such a company in Boston I think it is important they do that, and I must say I have been influenced by many of the fine productions have seen there. This just is not one of them.
Men On Boats
Through October 7
The SpeakEasy Stage Company