This Is Our Youth is the debut production by the fledgling Mid Twenties Theatre Society as well as the directorial debut of its founder Beau Han Bridge. Now playing at the Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island, This Is Our Youth is a play by American playwright and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan. Since its stage debut in 1996, This Is Our Youth has been staged numerous times over the years, off and on Broadway, in the West End and around the world.
While there is reference to the President, updated to President Trump, from its original Reagan era setting, the play doesn’t feel dated, in spite of it being written two decades ago. Set wholly within Dennis Zeigler’s New York studio apartment, This Is Our Youth is a weekend in the lives of an early-twenties trio; Dennis, Warren Staub and Jessica Goldman. The play mostly surround the awkward and dynamic friendship between Dennis and Warren, but Jessica Goldman, the object of Warren’s clumsy amourous advances, also stops in and out in each of the two acts. At two hours, including short intermission, the oft-intense interaction between Dennis and Warren, Warren and Jessica plus the simple staging keeps the play move quickly.
All three of the players were perfect in capturing the angst and intensity of the characters. Zack Currie brilliantly portrays the frenetic energy and intensity of drug-dealer Dennis’ often verbal diarrhea of random thoughts on life and how he interacts with others. Warren Staub is brought to life by Quinn Hinch in a turn that balances Warren’s sheltered innocence and desire to get out from under his parents and the burden of memory of his deceased sister. Mackenzie Cardwell provides Jessica, someone who always wants to have the last word, with the protective wall of her argumentative personality while maintaining the arrogance of youth. This trio can more than hold their own against the impressive line up of respected actors who have previously played these roles like; Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon, Michael Cera, Anna Pacquin to name a few.
Even though situations, styles and cultures may shift everyone should be able to relate to the themes in This Is Our Youth; finding your way from childhood to adulthood, balancing being your parent’s child and being your own person, and how to make your mark in the world.
If this debut is the way they’ll proceed, Mid Twenties Theatre Society has a bright future ahead of them.
This Is Our Youth continues at Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island; tonight July 17, 19, 21-23. Nightly at 7pm with 3pm matinees Saturday and Sunday. Visit mtstheatre.com for tickets.
*Audience Warning: the play includes graphic language and drug use including non-toxic smoke