The War Boys | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The War Boys 

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THE WAR BOYS, East Window Theatre Company. Naomi Wallace's first play is set on three borders--the border between Mexico and the U.S., the border between adolescence and manhood, and the border between fantasy and reality. It is a violent and often beautifully written story about three young Texan men who have hired themselves out to catch "wetbacks" for $10 a head. In the tedious hours between sightings, they drink beer, tell fantastical and brutal stories, and test the rules of their sadistically militaristic heirarchy. The East Window players capture the masturbatory machismo of their posturing, but the performances aren't as emotionally nuanced as they could be--director Adam Joyce sets the pace high, so his able cast must build from a shout to a scream. Still, despite what comes to seem an unnecessarily aggressive assault on the audience, the play retains its power as a critique of the interlocking fear, violence, and self-hatred that surround and maintain racism. It's good to see a young company tackling such difficult material--when this intelligent production falls short, it's because it takes risks. --Carol Burbank

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