The Evening Feb 22, 2015

by David Schmader

In The Evening, writer/director Richard Maxwell uses three actors, three musicians, and On the Boards' vast mainstage for a 50-minute exploration of familiar shapes and predictable patterns and what it feels like to break free. As a theater-maker, Maxwell is known in large part for his style, with actors blurting out their bursts of words in a manner that's part flat-affect/part reading-off-a-cuecard, and perfect for their resurrected-cliche personas. In The Evening, we get an up-and-coming fighter, his lovably shifty manager, and The Girl, who has both a secret and a gun, all of which are crammed in a lyrical miniature replica of every shitty bar you've ever set foot in. When the gun goes off, blood flies, but the injured parties refuse to break their deadpan composure or even die. By the end, the bar is left behind, and we're left wandering in a wilderness so impressively rendered that numerous audience members took photos with their phones. The Evening is exasperating when it wants to be, ravishing when it wants to be, and all wrapped up in under an hour.