Review: Halftime at B Street Theatre
Halftime is about football and the consequences of concussions, and it’s staged during the holiday season.
Don’t let the description and timing of the new B Street Theatre offering be a deterrent. Yes, Halftime is about the life of a fictional, star NFL linebacker named Don Devers—giving us a glimpse into his glory days and the heartbreaking present-day damage that the game of football wrought on his body and mind. But you don’t need to be a football fan to appreciate this story of worlds coming apart and the desperate attempts at putting them back together again.
We have Devers (Rich Hebert), a lonely, angry man struggling with outward and inward injuries. Entering his life is Ed (Dave Pierini), a lifetime fan and aspiring sportswriter who is struggling with his own failures. Ed answers the request of Devers’ daughter Stephanie (Danielle Mone Truitt) to check up on her dad. Stephanie is pregnant and bonds with Ed’s pregnant wife Sarah (Tate Hanyo).
B Street has pulled together a very talented cast, with a powerful performance by Hebert, who realistically conveys the hurt, pain and anger that affects his character both mentally and physically. There are plot threads that feel a bit contrived, including some of the scenes with Stephanie and Sarah, but the performances and the clever set hold everything together.
It’s an unusual time of the year for a play to address such weighty issues—not your usual light holiday fare. It is right smack in the middle of major football season, though, with playoffs and the Super Bowl right around the corner. And as one football fan in the Halftime audience noted, it’s getting harder to watch the game without cringing at the tackles.