Edith Can Shoot Things is on Target

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Teresa Avia Lim as Edith in Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them Humana Festival of New American Plays Actors Theatre of Louisville 2011 Photo by Michael Brosilow

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” is an odd title for the New American Play that premiered Sunday at Actors Theatre.  A. Rey Pamatmat’s drama is about a 12-year-old girl (Edith, played brilliantly by Teresa Avia Lim) who does shoot something and hit it, but the play’s real intrigue revolves around her 16-year-old brother and his boyfriend.

And no matter how accepting we are of gay relationships in today’s world, the audience at the Bingham Theatre seemed to gasp each time Kenny (Jon Norman Schneider) and Benji (Cory Michael Smith) kissed smack on the lips.  And as they  explored their relationship throughout the performance, there was plenty of collective gasping.

The play takes place in the early 1990s, evidenced by the ’70s furniture, rotary-dial phone and shag carpet on the set.  Edith and her brother Kenny live on a remote non-working farm in the Midwest, where she is bored and he tries to keep her from getting in trouble. Kenny is responsible, handling the money sent to them by their absentee father to pay for living expenses, like gas for trips to town. Their mother is dead.  And it’s 45 minutes to civilization.

The romance between Kenny and Benji blossoms quickly, and much of the plays centers on how they can maintain their relationship, especially after Benji’s homophobic mother finds out and prohibits them from seeing each other.  The couple is forced apart for some time, and the audience sees the way each handles it simultaneously. They pass notes in school, and read them aloud to the audience.

Cory Michael Smith as Benji and Jon Norman Schneider as Kenny in Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them Humana Festival of New American Plays Actors Theatre of Louisville 2011 Photo by Michael Brosilow

After the shooting incident, Edith is sent off to boarding school, but is predictably unhappy with the confining nature of the experience and wants to return to live with her brother.  Which leads to another incident that reveals the depth of all three characters.

Lim, as Edith, is a Yale Drama School graduate, so it’s a bit of a stretch to believe her as a 12-year-old, but she brings the production plenty of energy and humor. Smith and Schneider also give strong performances.