Graham Baker, Kennedy Kanagawa, Cody Robinson, David Gow, and Misha Osherovich Photo by Daniel Davila
“We live in a world that’s not easily woken up. We’re so use to shoving that part of our imagination down that most new atrocities get plunged into the cellar. Child abuse? Heard it, terrible, but down you go. Rape? That old chestnut down, down, down. It’s human. We have to let these things drift away in our minds because if we had them upfront all the time we’d kill ourselves.” David
Decky Does a Bronco by Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell is wonderfully acted, prolific, has so much to say and is definitely must see theatre.
The show takes place in a swing park in Girvan, Scotland, 1983, as five nine-year old playmates bond over rough housing, tag and basically being boys. The action takes place, after the five enter singing a cappella song in perfect harmony shedding their adulthood to become the children they were. Decky Does a Bronco is a memory play in which David (Cody Robinson), is trying to give a true child’s account of what happened that summer, because they “don’t talk about,” it.
David’s cousin Barry (Kennedy Kanagawa), stays with his grandmother during the summer and is trying to break his record for riding his bike to the park. Dressed in a sweater and a tie, he is the nerd of the group and needs to leave at 5:00, as to not be late for tea. O’Neil (Graham Baker), is the popular kid who is tougher and poorer than the others. Chrissy (David Gow) and Decky (Misha Osherovich) are besties, who are constantly at each others throats.
The five’s biggest thrill is to bronco. They stand up on the seat fo a swing, swing as high as they can, then jump, so that the swing goes over the top and wraps around the whole swing set. Four of the boys have done the deed, except Decky (Misha Osherovich), the youngest and wee (smallest) of the group. Decky is a klutz and longs to join the army to prove his worth.
One faithful day, David and Chrissy tease Decky, taunting him to do the bronco. Decky tries, but can not muster the courage. He runs aways stating “you will never see me again.” Sadly those words become true.
At first the boys think the bullying, has lead to Decky running away, but that is not the case. As the boys learn Decky’s fate they have to deal with their own emotional responses. As innocence is lost and scars are embedded these boys will never be the same.
All these actors are terrific with perfect Scottish accents, thanks to dialect coaching by Jerzy Gwiazdowski. Mr. Robinson, has the most to do switching back and forth from an adult to a child, all done with a fluidity that is so natural. Each of these actors childish mannerisms and boyish behavior is engaging. When their world is turned upside down, we see the guilt and mechanisms of survival kick in. This is one fabulous ensemble cast.
Ethan Nienaber’s direction and choreography is well thought out, leaving us to go on this rollercoaster ride with just the right emotional range. Make sure to bring Kleenex. Nienaber, adds stylized and slow-motion movement to let us see that these are memories, segments in time that are forever lost and yet forever playing in their minds.
Diggle’s simple yet effective set, Aidan Marshall haunting lighting, Susanne Houstle’s costumes and the wonderful beginning and ending musical segments harmonizing cappella, all add to this wonderful show.
Decky Does a Bronco is truly a satisfying theatrical experience, that I hope is honored come award season. This is a play everyone should see, as it touches the heart, while making some powerful statements. Do not miss Decky Does a Bronco.
Decky Does a Bronco: Royal Family Performing Arts Space, 145 West 46th St. through Sept. 21st.