A rhetorical question is asked near the end of the intensely riveting drama, Stalking the Bogeyman: “Do you know what it’s like? To realize that the most horrible event in your life helped shaped the defining characteristics of your entire being?” It is is posed by David Holthouse (Roderick Hill), a journalist who experienced a brutal rape at the formative age of seven. The perpetrator was the son of his parent’s friends, Russ (Murphy Guyer) and Carol Crawford (Roxanne Hart). Their son (Erik Heger) whose real name is intentionally absent until the end, is ten years older than David and is viewed as a big brother to him-at least until the harrowing incident–and then David sets out on a path for revenge against his “Bogeyman.”
This chilling tale is based on a true story that ran on National Public Radio’s This American Life in 2011. For years, Holthouse kept the rape a secret. When the story broke in 2004 in a Denver newspaper (where he was working), emails and letters began pouring in from those who had experienced the same tragedy. The stage version will no doubt strike a chord with individuals who have also endured such abuse.
Even if you are familiar with the story, which has been adapted by Markus Potter, there is a creepy, uneasy feeling that plays out like a first rate thriller. Make no mistake; this is not entertainment in the traditional sense. Instead. it is a fascinating study of human understanding, compassion, and grace. Issues of sexual molestation and abuse have long been topics for movies of the week and television crime dramas, but watching this story unfold on stage brings a visceral permanence to a awkward and uncomfortable topic. Kudos to this creative team for handling such a delicate matter with dramatic strength and truth.
Stalking the Bogeyman is now playing at New World Stages, 340 West 50th street (between 8th and 9th). For tickets and more information, visit the box office or online: http://www.stalkingthebogeyman.com/