Living the simple life in Idaho is somebody’s fantasy in Boise, but not the hero’s. He acquires it secondhand, like much else of what he does and thinks in the course of David Folwell’s short, pungent script. As a result, alerted by the predictability of one or two of the show’s pivotal events, you’re liable to think that Folwell himself has acquired too much of his substance secondhand: The influence of Büchner’s Woyzeck and its best-known contemporary spin-off, Mamet’s Edmond, hangs heavy over the evening. But to dismiss a young writer for choosing an ambitious model would be unreasonable as well as unjust: Folwell’s dialogue is lively and sharply observant. If he hasn’t succeeded in merging his sense of contemporary life with a premise borrowed from his great predecessors, he has managed to capture to some extent the tone of the airless, horizon-less service-economy world that educated young people now face. Given a little encouragement and some deeper self-examination, he might easily discover a drama that grows more naturally out of that world. Somehow, the story of a guy who’s bored with his wife and goes postal when his potential girlfriend’s swiped by his best buddy doesn’t quite fill the bill; an incest motif that seems to have wandered in from some other play only makes it seem more manufactured.
Still, scene by scene, Folwell’s characters are vivid enough, especially as animated by a strong cast under Rob Bundy’s direction. Christopher Burns as the rudderless hero, Lucia Brawley as the girl he doesn’t get, and Alex Kilgore as the interfering buddy get the script’s best chances and run with them; only occasionally does Bundy’s steady pace slacken to reveal a stuck-needle syndrome inherent in the material: Until Folwell figures out who his hero is, this drama has no place to go. Needless to say, it never gets as far west as Boise. But it has plenty of tonic moments inside its stasis.