The Woodsman

There aren’t many taboos left in theater, a fact that playwright Steven Fechter was surely aware of when his play about a pedophile was first produced in 2000. (It also became a 2004 movie starring Kevin Bacon.) But Fechter isn’t just trying to shock us with the details of child rape—he also wants us to empathize with the rapist. And somehow, to the credit of both Fechter and the Emerald City Scene cast, we do. After serving a 12-year prison sentence, Walter (Martyn G. Krouse) struggles to reconnect with his friends and family while trying in vain to repress his desire for prepubescent girls. It’s a quietly intense play that director Danielle Franich stages in an intimate black box theater. The actors rarely raise their voices, and they don’t need to; the ever-present threat of recidivism keeps our nerves on edge. Krouse delivers the sincere performance of a sad man fighting what he understands to be monstrous impulses. The sound designer, Kyle Thompson, also deserves kudos for creating an eerie track that haunts The Woodsman. BRENT ARONOWITZ

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Thu., March 17, 8 p.m. Starts: March 4. Continues through March 19, 2011

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