Ashley Huizinga- Diamond Editor
Drawer Boy is thoughtful. It’s exposition-heavy. It’s a twisting tale of stories gone wrong and stories made right. It’s funny and sarcastic and relatable in a farming community like Sioux Center and the towns for miles beyond. But above all, Drawer Boy is the kind of play you’re going to want to see twice in order to fully comprehend.
Drawer Boy, inspired by the existence of a 1970s Canadian avant-grade theater troupe, features only three cast members – senior Peter Rexford, sophomore Zach Dirksen and sophomore Harrison Burns. The scene opens in a small farmhouse that could have been plucked from any farming community in the 1970s. We meet the gormless Angus, the vaguely threatening but humorous Morgan and the impeccably dressed Miles, sporting the everyday country wear of open-toed sandals, a flowy shirt with a brown landscape and the orange-est pants you will ever see in your entire life. I don’t know about you, but I would have paid any ticket fare just to know that such pants exist in real life.
Rexford commands the stage throughout the majority of his moments on stage, from the first “Hello” to the last condemnation of “Communists!” Dirksen carries himself in the amusing but intimidating manner of someone you can’t quite trust but you might really look up to. And Burns embodies the 1970s socialist hippie thespian persona with frightening accuracy.
Director and Theatre Arts professor Josiah Wallace chose the play for two reasons. First, “This play has a relatively small cast. Without the two senior shows [later in the semester], I’d never get another opportunity like this. There are a number of small-casted shows I like, and this one just caught me right away.” Second, and perhaps most importantly, “There’s a lot of depth to it.” And indeed, there will be a lot of things you’ll notice at first but only recognize as significant when you look back on them thirty or forty minutes later. Truly, every little thing matters in this production.
Buy a ticket to watch a thought-provoking story about truth, half-truth and something in-between. If nothing else, attend to commemorate this final work in Rexford’s illustrious theater career at Dordt College. Or, be there to catch each farming reference that will have residents of the country chortling and city-slickers scratching their heads in confusion. Is there really a difference between hay and straw? Are all milking cows actually petrified of the eternal release of death, all the time? Most importantly, do they really feed the pigs to the cows?
So, marvel at the utter gormlessness of Rexford’s face throughout 80% of the scenes. Be peacefully serenaded by bird sounds on loop during the intermission. Keep an eye out for Burns’ interchangeable peace sign necklaces. And remember: #drawernotdrawer.
Drawer Boy will be showing this week Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30, and Saturday afternoon at 2:00. Please note, this play is set on a farm, so some of the language is not suitable for young audiences.