Its heart is in the right place, but Giacondo Trevellini's Boots is an enervating evening about the destructive effects of war.
It would take a Mapquest search to figure some of it out, but Boots seems to take place among peace-loving mountain people threatened by warlike neighbors. Tiny, a young man brought up by Lem, a relative he thinks is his father, marries local girl Jule, who pleads with him not to go to war. Tiny, Lem, and Jule speak in prose, while Pira (Tiny's mom?) wanders about spouting more elevated language ("The powerful wash their feet in peasants' sweat").
Michael Petranek's low-key direction works better in dealing with various time and place shifts than complex characterizations. His actors — Greg Coughlin, Katharine Lerner, Sarah-Kate McIntyre, and Clifford Rivera — follow dutifully, even masking their faces with cloth on occasion. Yet good intentions aren't enough to lift this work beyond the mundane.
Presented by Migrant Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at Walkerspace, 46 Walker St., NYC. Aug. 8-20. Remaining performances: Wed., Aug. 13, 4:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 17, 7:15 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 20, 6:45 p.m. (212) 279-4488 or (866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.