Steven Walters latest new work for Second Thought Theatre combines high school football, violence, sexual abuse and the death penalty for two hours of tense drama. Call it Friday Night Plights as Coach Weldon Brown (Clay Yocum) brutally beats to death two of his star players in full view of half the school, then goes on the run with 16-year-old Lissie (Maxey Whitehead), a student whos madly in love with him. In alternating scenes, we see Weldon and Lissie working out their problems in a rundown motel room in West Texas, and Weldon being grilled by detectives (John S. Davies, Mike Schraeder) and counseled by his unsympathetic public defender (Allison Tolman). Testimony from an assistant coach (Ashley Wood) and a visit by Weldons long-estranged alcoholic father (T.A. Taylor) only complicate things further. When actors this good get onstage together, they elevate the material. Walters play still needs work, but he couldnt ask for a better, more passionate cast. The chance to see Yocum and Whitehead share their heartbreaking scenes is more than enough reason to line up at the box office.
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: April 4. Continues through April 20, 2008