It’s hard to shock people anymore on Broadway, but Julia Cho’s play Office Hour managed it when it premiered there two years ago. Reviewers and fans came out of this drama shaken and rattled and (in some cases) massively frustrated. Anton Chekhov said that if you bring a gun onstage in a play’s first act, it had better go off by the third. This story of a mass school shooting has the gun go off many, many times.
The play is about an Asian-American college student whose affect simply screams “mass shooter,” as he sits at the back of his creative-writing class, never speaks, wears a black hoodie that covers his face, and clutches a black backpack to his chest at all times. When he does present his assignments, they’re graphically violent stories filled with torture and sadomasochistic sex. A professor makes some extremely ill-judged attempts to get through to him. Some were offended at the use of a school shooting as a dramatic payoff, others at the Sliding Doors-style multiple narratives. Is this a good play or a bad play? We have no idea, but its regional premiere at Circle Theatre this weekend is the theatrical event of the week.
Office Hour runs Thu thru May 11 at Circle Theatre, 230 W 4th St, FW. Tickets are $21-53. Call 817-332-2272.