Presented by James B. Freydberg, CTM Productions, Wendy vanden Heuvel, and Sharon Rosen, in association with True Love Productions, at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway, NYC, April 12-May 30.
Martin Moran takes the audience on a deeply engrossing, provocative, and painful exploration of childhood trauma in his one-person show "The Tricky Part."
In this autobiographical piece, Moran tells of his sexual violation when he was a very innocent, very Catholic 12-year-old boy by an older man, a mentor of sorts who operated a boys' ranch in Moran's hometown of Denver, where city lads could get a taste of country life. He describes minutely the complexities of the damage, questioning, and guilt that surfaced with the event and the three-year relationship with his violator that followed. The wounds continue into adulthood and reopen when scandals of child abuse begin roiling the Catholic Church. It's then that Moran decides to seek out his abuser and confront him as an adult in an attempt to end the emotional turmoil. When Moran finally finds him, a broken man in a veteran's hospital, Moran also finds himself on the verge of "the tricky part," the ability to forgive and the realization of divine grace. The show itself seems to be an element in this "tricky part."
But despite dark material, this is not a downbeat event. Moran, who's appeared in numerous Broadway musicals, is a confident, engaging presence. His narrative is filled with sharp details and abundant humor as he tells of his Catholic grammar-school days. While rarely attempting to embody the story's various people, Moran, under the guidance of director Seth Barrish and aided by just a couple of props and a few lighting shifts, brings his characters to life through descriptive force and telling gesture. Every movement has significance, and the actor uses pauses as a script might call for set changes, as his story moves back and forth in time. Along with its compelling story, the show is an invigorating display of theatrical economy in the service of masterful storytelling.