By Rachel Berthiaume
Boston is known for having an endless array of entertainment options for all ages, price ranges, and interests. For all theater geeks, or anyone who simply enjoys some good entertainment, a fantastic place to look is the Hub Theatre Company.
The Hub is a non-profit organization that is funded by donations. Each show is pay-what-you-can because The Hub wants to give everyone the chance to enjoy the theater, and it is not an opportunity to pass up.
The Hub’s latest production is Bruce Graham’s Coyote on A Fence, directed by Daniel Bourque. The drama focuses on the interactions between two very different men who have both been sentenced to death for crimes they have been accused of committing. Whether they are guilty or not is explored throughout the intense scenes of the production.
First there is John Brennan (Mark Krawczyk), a seemingly harmless man, who is surviving jail through receiving letters from a mysterious pen-pal and from being the editor of the controversial jail newspaper, The Death Row Advocate. He is constantly trying to fight the system, due to the fact that he believes he is innocent. Then there is Bobby Reyburn (Cameron Gosselin), a damaged individual with a haunted past who fully accepts the blame for the crime he has committed.
Bobby was raised with love but taught to hate, and his views are nontraditional and unethical as a result. Despite all those differences, he is the most honest, and maybe even innocent, character in the whole play. After spending six years in solitary confinement, Bobby becomes John’s next door neighbor and unwanted companion. As the two cellmates bicker day in and day out and unravel more and more about each other, they form a sort of unspoken bond as they both wait for their scheduled death.
But Coyote on the Fence doesn’t just show the view of the prisoners; the view of law enforcement is present as well. Shawna DuChamp (Regine Vital), an officer at the prison where John and Bobby are held, showcases the daily pressures of supervising dangerous criminals and the emotional toll it can have on a person. Her character is frequently seen lounging at a bar trying to avoid reporters that question her about controversial topics such as the death penalty.
News reporting is a constant theme in this drama seen through John’s Death Row Advocate, where he writes humbling obituaries about the prisoners who lost their lives on death row, and the New York Times reporter, Sam Fried (Robert Orzalli), who frequently visits John. At first, Sam is only interested in the Death Row Advocate, but as the two writers form an honest yet passive-aggressive relationship, their meetings turn into discussions involving much deeper matters. As secrets are uncovered and the truth is brought to light, motives are explained, justice is served, and life goes on.
Coyote on the Fence is a very thought-provoking play that is able to show the multiple different perspectives of people who encounter the turmoils of the law system, such as the guilty, the innocent, and the outsiders looking in. The Hub did a fantastic job, through convincing actors and creative scenery, of capturing the morals of the story.
The Hub Theatre Company has been up and running for four seasons and since then has gotten multiple nominations from the IRNE for categories such as Best Production, Best Actor, Best Direction, etc. The Hub Theatre Company has been putting on thought provoking and powerful performances since day one and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.