A cautionary male


Carapace, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday; 2 and 7 p.m. Thursday; 7 p.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday; $23-$35. B Street Theatre, B3 Stage, 2727 B Street; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org. Through February 24.

B Street Theatre

2711 B St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 443-5300

Rated 4.0

Over many years with the B Street Theatre, actor David Pierini has specialized in playing guys who haven’t lived up to their potential, like a 30-something-ish unemployed college grad still living with his mom, or a guy who finished law school but never passed the bar exam. Often these characters are loveable losers, presented in a semicomical context.

So Pierini’s role in Carapace is a bit of a switch—here he’s playing an arguably successful longtime sports anchor on a local TV news station. Early on, we sense that this is cautionary tale, not a comedy, with a tragic outcome in store. Pierini seizes the opportunity and mounts one of the best performances we’ve seen him give.

It’s all about alcohol dependency—and stuttering. Pierini’s character is likeable, but he drinks too much. He can hide it from most people, but his family isn’t fooled—they eventually cut him off. And the stress contributes to the sportscaster’s daughter’s terrible struggle with stuttering (an unusual role for versatile actress Stephanie Altholz). The show also includes a worthy turn by Greg Alexander (as a prissy in-law) and good supporting work by acting interns Dan Fagan and James Arakas. A shattered terrarium and references to the Minneapolis freeway bridge that spectacularly collapsed in 2007 are clearly symbolic, but director Jerry Montoya doesn’t push them too hard; and Montoya doesn’t overdramatize the small, fateful choices that make this story’s ending inevitable.