When a Jewish lawyer is assigned to defend a young neo-nazi skinhead accused of brutally killing an immigrant man by kicking him to death with his cherry-red combat boots, the lawyer must alter his preconceived notion of humanity and re-evaluate his spirituality in order to discover forgiveness. In this provocative New England Premiere, David Gow dares audiences to confront their own intolerance and examine their own capacity for compassion while asking, is there atonement for all crimes?
Nominated for SIX 2010 Broadway World Boston Awards:
Best Actor, Ben Evett; Best Actor, Tim Eliot; Best Set Design; Best Lighting Design; Best Direction of a Play; and Best Play.
Nominated for TWO 2011 Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards: Best Set Design, Jenna McFarland Lord and Best Production of a Play.
“The realms traversed by the play embrace religious notions in conflict and egos struggling against crushing burdens of despair, but at its core the play is driven by a sound moral argument: good and evil may be real and forceful components of human experience, but they are never simplistic and never hermetically sealed. Good people can do evil things, and those floundering in the depths of wickedness can still struggle toward a lifeline of hope ... Director David R. Gammons aims every aspect of the production squarely on the mental and emotional stress that Mike and Danny endure, heightening the dramatic question: will they break? Or will they emerge stronger than before? The answer is surprising and affecting, both to the heart and the intellect. In terms of production values, writing, direction, design, and topicality, Cherry Docs is first-rate. New Rep has done plenty to be proud of, but this sensational production is a standout even by New Rep‘s standards.”
“The power of this bracingly intelligent play derives less from its explosive moments than from the interior struggles that register on the faces of two exceptional performers -- Benjamin Evett and Tim Eliot -- when they are not saying a word or breaking a thing ... Director David R. Gammons adroitly sidesteps the risk of cliche, in part by demonstrating the same gift for compelling stage imagery he showed with last year's production of John Kuntz‘s The Salt Girl at Boston Playwrights‘ Theatre ... With alternating force and delicacy, Evett expertly traces Danny‘s journey from his early, fierce certitude to a growing sense of imbalance as his inner conflicts take hold. As Mike, Eliot communicates the skinhead‘s loathsome qualities but also the human stakes as one hate-poisoned youth tries to grope his way toward a new understanding of the world ... If you see Cherry Docs -- and you should -- chances are you‘ll be thinking about it long after you leave the theater.”
“Two actors take the stage and stand in a severely angular, harshly lit, grayish-white oblong room, narrowly pointed at one end, wide open to the auditorium at the other. The older man wears a neat, dark suit with a white shirt and red tie. The younger man is dressed in a white prison jumpsuit, barefoot before donning white slip-on sneakers. His head is shaved. There is a stark contrast in their visual impact upon us and we think we know them. We don‘t know them at all. Over the course of approximately 90 minutes, we learn who they are and who they will become, thanks to the precise detail and incredible depth of writing by Jewish-Canadian playwright David Gow, the compelling direction of David R. Gammons, and the riveting, realistic portrayals by Benjamin Evett and Tim Eliot ... It is impossible to sit through Cherry Docs without beginning to play around with your own views of humanity, tolerance, fear, hatred, love, and forgiveness. This is a play that will make you think and hold your interest long after the lights go down. New Rep is to be applauded for staging this challenging work.”
New England Premiere
By David Gow
New Repertory Theatre
October 17 – November 7, 2010
Photos: David R. Gammons