Blackbird By David Harrower
Directed by Richard Width
Orlando Theatre Project at Winter Park Playhouse
Winter Park, FL

Perhaps you didn’t know they have a Pedophiles Handbook. Apparently you check off questions and decide if you simply like 12 year olds, or if you’re willing to pack one up and take her to a cheap hotel in Kingman, Arizona for a deep, meaningful hour or two. Ray, or Peter (Jim Howard) depending on when you catch him, leads a Productivity Team in the anonymous medical products division of an unknown corporation. He wears trousers, not pants, can’t keep the break room clean, and nearly buried his past until Una (Krista Pigott) shows up. A life time ago, when she was 12 and he was forty, they fell in love or lust, did the deed, and now he’s done his time and moved on. Perhaps she has as well, but a chance encounter brings them together to relive the horror and hilarity of their inappropriate past.

There’s nothing easy about viewing this piece, despite the excellent acting, writing and directing. Howard’s Ray can rationalize his actions, but the more he reveals about himself, the creepier he feels. Una fell in love with an older man, and never questioned anything until he left her broke and bleeding and turned himself in, although she MIGHT give him a second chance. Unlike the cautious stalker type, he didn’t think his way through the inevitable, and paid the price. The story apparently predates today’s strict sexual predator laws; Ray was able to rebuild a life after his conviction, something few are now able to do. “Blackbird” takes us into a world we hopefully don’t know much about, and when we remerge, it’s apparent that it’s not impossible for any of us to fall into the abyss.

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