Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

The Tricky Part
American Conservatory Theater
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of She Loves Me and Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

Martin Moran
Photo by Joan Marcus
Obie Award Winner Martin Moran is holding forth at American Conservatory Theater's Strand Theatre with The Tricky Part, performed in a set with All the Rage. The Tricky Part is an amazing 90-minute enactment. Martin Moran not only paints portraits of people, but he captures them with loveliness and anguish. Associated Press said this solo piece is "an emotionally honest play about sexuality and reconciliation." That it is.

The Tricky Part tells the true story of Moran's sexual relationship with a much older counselor he met at a Catholic boys camp. Years later, he tracked down and confronted the man.

As you enter the theatre you see on the bare stage a table and an 8x10 framed photograph of a boy standing in a kayak. Martin enters the stage unannounced and lifts up the photograph, proclaiming it to be a picture of himself at age 12. He starts out by regaling the audience with amusing stories and one-liners about his experience at Christ the King parochial in Denver. After confirmation he became treasurer of the student council and he relishes calling the bank to say, "Hello, this is Christ the King calling." He speaks affectionately about the school and his early childhood.

Soon the story becomes darker as he tells of going to a Catholic boys summer camp and meeting Bob, a 27-year-old camp counselor. By day, they do manual labor along with another 12-year-old boy. Martin remembers Bob as a charismatic Vietnam vet who told "amazing campfire stories about jungle ghosts and war". Non-Catholic Bob is starting his own boy's ranch about 15 miles from the camp and he offers Martin and his friend money to spend the weekend helping him fix up the place. They accept and off they go to Bob's ranch. That night Martin is sexually violated by Bob.

Martin struggles to come to terms with his own homosexually and with a man who one day becomes a convicted sex offender. On April 4, 2002, when he is an adult Martin finds Bob at a Los Angeles veteran's hospital looking like a diabetic woman in a wheelchair with a white mop of hair. I won't relate what happens next.

Martin Moran is an easygoing actor who holds the stage with his satisfying manner, flexible voice, and sense of theatre.

Martin Moran at the Strand, including The Tricky Part and All the Rage runs until December 11th, 2016, at A.C.T. Strand Theatre, 1127 Market St San Francisco. For tickets call 415-749-2228 or visit Currently at their main theatre on Geary Street is A Christmas Carol.

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