The History Boys

Alan Bennett’s acclaimed 2004 play, set in '80s England, has its Seattle debut. Three dedicated, disparate educators employ contrasting strategies to get their working-class students into elite institutions. Despite (or because of their efforts), the boys tease, simper, act out, doze off, provoke, resent, and celebrate with engaging realism, nailing the fluctuations of adolescent energy, from hyper to lethargic. As directed by Christopher Zinovitch, this production of Bennett's Tony Award-winning drama capitalizes on the intimate ArtsWest venue to bring us close to, as though right up to the keyhole of, the classroom. So winsome are the characters, so provocative are the debates, so witty is the repartee, that we suspend—as though in a fairy tale about a different sort of land—judgment of sexual molestation. “Oh yeah, and he touched that kid,” drifts by as an afterthought. MARGARET FRIEDMAN Extended, with additional performances April 3 & 4.

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Fri., April 3, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., April 4, 7:30 p.m. Starts: March 4. Continues through March 28, 2009

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