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Review: Days of Rage at Second Stage Theater

From the writer of Dear Evan Hansen comes a new play called Days Of Rage, now making it's debut at the Tony Kiser Theater. It follows five twenty-somethings in Ithaca, New York during the time of the Vietnam War.

Spence (Mike Faist), Jenny (Lauren Patten), and Quinn (Odessa Young) are three revolutionaries, who live together and spend most of their time protesting the war, and encouraging others to join them in "bringing the war home" at the Days of Rage demonstrations in Chicago in October 1969. However, the arrival of Hal (J. Alphonse Nicholson) and Peggy (Tavi Gevinson) shake up their group and challenge their beliefs.

While the story's main focus is the ideas behind the Chicago protests and young people that hope to change the world, despite being completely unprepared to do so, Steven Levenson's fast-paced, cleverly written, and ultimately moving script also becomes somewhat of a study of each of the five characters, delving into stereotypes and relationships.

The cast works incredibly well as an ensemble, no one truly being the lead of the show. Amidst the incredible performances however, Lauren Patten stands out, as does Mike Faist. Patten completely demonstrates her range as an actor, especially emotionally, while Faist's performance, and his first stage performance since Dear Evan Hansen, shows that he too has an incredible range as an actor, and does a fantastic job with a flawed character.

Tavi Gevinson's performance is much of the comedic relief, despite the subject matter, and she pushes the envelope with her acting. J. Alphonse Nicholson is equally talented as the rest of the cast, and works wonderfully with Lauren Patten, whom he shares most of his scenes with. Odessa Young is the most intense of the five actors, and her performance is one that you can barely take your eyes off of.

Well acted, well written, and well directed, Days of Rage is ultimately an intense and thought-provoking piece. It is most certainly a period piece, though it will leave you with the story in your head for many days to follow.

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