The widespread devastation of honeybees, as dutiful workers abandon their hives and leave their dependents to implode, is a key metaphor in the new play “Colony Collapse.”
That sort of symbolism can quickly turn heavy, but playwright Stefanie Zadravec keeps it buoyant as she tells a tale of lost souls.
She finds sympathetic partners in director Jessica Kubzansky and the Theatre @ Boston Court, a company that Angelenos have come to rely on for a steady supply of exciting new plays.
A highly imaginative, not entirely realistic tone is set right away as a bee-like buzz separates into the individual voices of parents of missing children, who describe their child’s disappearance.
The storytelling is then given over to the main action, but the parents keep returning to function almost like a Greek chorus because the central story is that of a child in danger of going missing in plain sight as the adults in his life fail him.
To the story’s texture of voices is added yet one more: that of the vanished 15-year-old (Emily James), who sunnily expounds on the world’s mysteries, including the bee die-off.
In Kubzansky’s hands, the complex storytelling finds the seamlessness, emotional resonance and magic that are characteristic of her work at Boston Court, where she is co-artistic director, and elsewhere.
Set designer Susan Gratch uses curtains of camouflage net to suggest tree trunks. In what would typically be a bucolic place, mystery deepens, foreboding builds. Yet the story is luminescent as well. This cautionary tale about a wounded America never quite gives up hope.
Where: Theatre @ Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Ends March 20.
Tickets: $35 and $39
Info: (626) 683-6883, www.bostoncourt.org
Running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
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