Ancram, New York
Local culture
14 July 2019 09:59AM
Enid Futterman


There is one more performance of the enthralling one-man memoir play, this afternoon, Sunday, July 14, 3 pm at Ancram Opera House. I’m starting with that, in case you don’t get past the lede, to urge you to go, even on a beautiful summer day. It’s only 85 minutes long and you will thank me.

The title is mentioned only once, early on, in passing, in relation to something I don’t even remember because it isn’t important. What’s important is the conflict it posits, between good and evil, restraint and abandon, right and wrong, as described by one of the nuns who teaches pre-pubescent Marty Moran how to be a good Catholic at Christ is King School in the Rocky Mountains.

Moran quotes another teacher, a science teacher, who says of those mountains, “A rock, a mountain may look at rest, but they most certainly are not. Everything is filled with ceaseless subatomic motion.” Which could be a metaphor for this show.

We come to learn that the tricky, the agonizing, the wounding part for the author, protagonist and performer, is all of the above conflict, and above all, the ability to discern the difference between good and evil, and assign blame.

Even if, like me, you managed to get through childhood and adolescence without being sexually abused by an adult, if you are an empathetic, intelligent human, you know that it happens at a fairly alarming rate, and that the child is always the victim. But you’ve never fully understood how it happens, and why, and how wounding it is, no matter how much the child “likes” it. (Actually, the child hates it as much as he likes it, and as much as he is in thrall to his abuser.)

Martin Moran will tell, you in story and performance so honest, so intimate, and so visceral, it doesn’t matter that he’s the only one on stage and it’s just a story. It doesn’t matter that there is nothing to look at but the lanky storyteller and a photograph, taken by his abuser, of the beautiful boy he was at 12. You laugh with him, because it’s funny even when it’s awful. You hold your breath with him when it’s so compelling you understand why he never said no, even though he knew then almost as much as he knows now. And you grieve for the beautiful boy, who is gone, but not gone, and never will be. You are there, in 1972 when it happens, in 2002 when Martin finally confronts an unrecognizable mess of a man in a VA hospital bed, and right now when it ought to be all over. You are there, inside his mind and body, for whom all of those times are simultaneous.

Today, Sunday, July 14, 3 pm. Ancram Opera House. 518 329 0114 or:

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