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Review: An ‘Our Town’ With Sex Offenders, in ‘America Is Hard to See’


Ken Barnett as a disgraced choirmaster in “America Is Hard to See,” a documentary theater piece according to interviews.

Emon Hassan for The New York Times

A bunch of ex-cons in a remedy consultation introduce themselves, outlining the crimes that landed them in jail.

A bearded man, Thomas, says he fondled his step-granddaughter for a 12 months and a part earlier than he used to be stopped. Chris, a fresh-faced 22-year-old, says his female friend grew to become out to be 14. And Chad, a good-looking guy with haunted eyes, a cushy drawl and an aw-shucks appeal, says he used to be a trainer. He would slightly no longer pass into main points, however he molested considered one of his scholars.

On Thursday evening, because the actors performed this scene in “America Is Hard to See,” a wise and troubling new piece of documentary theater, the room used to be so pin-drop quiet that it's essential listen the electrical hum of the lighting. By then, we had already warmed to a few of these characters, already observed them as common other folks.

The makers of this display — a play with track introduced via Life Jacket Theater Company at the intimate major level at Here — need us to grasp on to that feeling and battle with it, to check out to work out how to reconcile it with our revulsion. For now, those males are cordoned off from common society, dwelling in a Florida group for registered intercourse offenders known as Miracle Village. But they received’t keep there endlessly.


Joyce Cohen (foreground) as a skeptical therapist with John Carlin, left, and Gareth Tidball. The manufacturing options songs via Priscilla Holbrook.

Emon Hassan for The New York Times

We watch Chad (Ken Barnett), Chris (David Spadora) and Thomas (John Carlin) make growth towards turning into more healthy human beings, and we see that the variations in their crimes that they describe to the play’s unseen researchers aren't essentially to be depended on.

These people have a real propensity for lying,” a therapist (Joyce Cohen) warns. “This play of yours, it’s filled with, what do you call it, unreliable narrators?”

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