“My father was a cop—and I’ll never forgive him for it.” So begins “Behind the Badge,” a vigorous expressionistic memoir about a father-son relationship. Written and performed by Marrick Smith and Lachlan McKinney, roles and personalities are switched throughout as first one, then the other becomes the father, then the son he indoctrinates into handling weapons and understanding the risks and rewards of being an officer. Despite the interplay of love and camaraderie, they’re ambivalent about their relationship and future.
Based on true events, the play mirrors real-life organizations that help survivors of cop killings. It’s also a paean to the life-and-death situations that call for hair-trigger responses that are not always the “right” ones. “Sometimes the evil follows me home,” they say, as they detail “tales of horror, comedy, tragedy, and action.” Though more a series of vignettes and impressions, under Sean Groves’ direction the show’s energy is infectious.
Presented by Iron Shirt Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at the Living Theater,21 Clinton St., NYC, Aug. 11–19. Remaining performances: Wed., Aug. 15, 8:45 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 18, noon; Sun., Aug. 19, noon. (866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.
Critic's Score: B