The Drawer Boy was named one of the 10 best plays of 2001 by Time magazine after a production by Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre featuring John Mahoney, best known as Martin Crane of TV's Frasier. Now Banyan Theater is staging the work by Canadian playwright Michael Healey. It's about two middle-aged bachelor farmers in Ontario who grew up together and served in World War II. When a young actor shows up to research a play he wants to write on farming, a dark secret emerges.
Angus, one of the farmers, played by Kenneth Tigar, drew pictures before a head injury left him subject to memory loss. Thus, the play's curious title. Morgan, the other farmer, played by Don Walker, comforts Angus with stories from their past. Ken Ferrigni plays Miles, the actor-writer from Toronto.
In Canada, where it won numerous awards, Healey's comedy-drama was particularly well received because its premise recalled the making of a landmark production in the country's modern theater history, The Farm Show.
Directed by Carole Kleinberg, The Drawer Boy opens tonight and runs through Aug. 1 in the Cook Theatre of the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. $28.50. (941) 552-1032; banyantheatercompany.com.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic