Black Box excels at emotion

Jimmy Britt / Castleton Spartan

Nicole DiCicco and Justin Gardener star in the "Gruesome Playgound Injuries."

Black Box Theater shows are fun because the audience is so close to the actors. You don’t just watch the show; you are a part of it.

When the actors are kissing or fighting, you are there in the room with them. This sometimes makes you feel uncomfortable or like you need to laugh to break the silence.

“Gruesome Playground Injuries,” a two-man show directed by senior Cameron Scully was this kind of experience.

One interesting thing about the show, not uncommon in Black Box productions, was the way the actors made costume changes – in front of the audience.

At first it was a little uncomfortable when Nicole DiCicco, who played Kayleen, and Justin Gardner, who played Doug, started undressing in front of the audience. After a few scene changes it became natural and you felt like you were witnessing the characters changing and growing into new people right before your eyes.

The show is written in a non-linear fashion, but you never really feel too confused. The scenes occur at a variety of ages from when the pair is 8-years-old all the way up to when they are 38.

Some scenes refer to others that may or may not have been shown yet. Each can be seen on their own without too much explanation, but by the end, it all fits together and you understand the motivations and consequences behind each scene.

The characters demonstrate what true friendship and true love look like. You see them through years of being apart, mental and physical illnesses, deaths in the family and countless injuries.

Through it all, they care for each other, even when they are hurt or upset. Love isn’t always shown in the form of kissing and hugging, it’s the small things like showing up when it counts, even if the other person doesn’t think they want you there.

The actors both did a great job.

Gardner’s child-like style of acting worked well for his clumsy character. DiCicco, in one of her first Castleton productions, had a very dynamic character who started as a silly child and ended as a damaged, grieving woman.

She makes this change easily as the characters go from childhood to adulthood and back again. Overall, I enjoyed the show and the way the actors grow up together even when they are apart.

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