Bretton Reis as Miles

Last week, ACT ONE’s Festival 2012 opened with Stephanie Nugent’s beautifully realized production of Michael Healy’s The Drawer Boy. This production happens to include the theme of combat-related brain injury, a theme that has taken on great importance to Stephanie and myself in recent months. And so, ACT ONE gave a special benefit performance to the Krempels Center to kick off the run–board members, staff, and Center members living with brain injury were invited, along with folks from Krempel’s partner in good works, SeaCare. SeaCare provides funding for health care, as well as case management, to uninsured people living on the NH Seacoast.

There was fantastic, optimistic energy in the room as our invited guests gave the actors a supportive reception. Afterwards, some of the Krempels members who cope with brain injury on a day-to-day basis spoke with the actors about how well the production reflected their own experiences. Krempels staff member Jenny Freeman was so enthusiastic that she posted this review on the Krempels FB page:

Bretton Reis, Norm Smith, and Roland Goodbody

“A terrific night last night at the West End Theater in Portsmouth! Act One invited both Krempels Center and SeaCare Health Services to a free viewing of their dress rehearsal of  The Drawer Boy. This was a wonderful gesture of appreciation for the work we do, AND they were craving a live audience before opening night to see if the play was working. Boy, it’s working!

The Drawer Boy takes place in 1972, thirty years after lifelong best friends Angus and Morgan returned to rural Ontario after serving in World War II. Angus had been hurt in a blast overseas and came home with severe memory loss and a steel plate in his head. Angus and Morgan lived companionably together on their farm until a young actor moved into their farmhouse to research farm life for a play he was cast in. What begins as a simple, quiet story moves toward an explosive and very moving climax as Angus learns the
real story of his injury, his sweetheart, and his best friend Morgan.

This is a fine piece of ensemble acting. Norm Smith, Roland Goodbody, and Bretton Reis are all well cast in their roles. Sitting in the audience, there was no question that they became their characters. Stephanie Voss Nugent did a fabulous job of taking Michael Healey’s script from paper and breathing it into life. If you can, don’t miss this production. It is truly wonderful theater.”

Anne Weidman, a Krempels board member, was on hand to take photos that night, so thanks to her for her great images of the production. There are three more performances of The Drawer Boy coming up on August 24 & 25! Visit or call 603-300-2986 for reservations!

Bretton Reis and Roland Goodbody