In the world premiere of Lizard Boy, the Seattle Repertory Theatre takes a chance on a young new playwright. A show filled with overarching themes of acceptance and hope, Lizard Boy captures the essence of what it feels like to be an outcast and the journey to overcome.
Justin Huertas wrote, composed and stars in this new modern-rock musical set in present-day Seattle with an imaginative twist. The stage reflects the world of Trevor the Lizard Boy, with sketches of Marvel comic book heroes, an old piano, a platform and a couple old-style chests. The scenic design is as smart in its simplicity as it is in its versatility.
The intricate plot follows the story of Trevor (played by Huertas), who was drenched in dragon’s blood as a child and, as a result, cursed with the skin of a lizard. Twenty years later, he has grown into a sad and unsure sketch artist, spending his days having imaginary conversations and dreams of a mysterious rock star Virago (Siren, played by Kirsten deLohr Helland).
Lizard Boy begins with Trevor attempting to find an ex-lover on Grindr, a gay dating website. This leads to Trevor to meet up with Cary (played by William A. Williams), a lonely man who has just moved to Seattle and is desperately eager for companionship. The night takes them to The Crocodile, where Trevor encounters Siren, the enigmatic beldame from his dreams.
As the plot thickens, Siren reveals she also encountered dragon blood as a child. This event gave her super powers, powers she implies Trevor also possesses. She predicts a dragon apocalypse if she and Trevor do not join forces. Testing the boundaries of an audience’s ability to suspend disbelief, the mystifying plot is paired with catchy tunes and pop culture references to take viewers on a fantasy-like adventure.
Director Brandon Ivie tastefully incorporates few props but big ideas. Impressive staging creates an allusive and intriguing depth not only to the plot, but also to the character development.
Throughout the performance, comic sketches projected on the backdrop illustrate special effects happening on stage. The projections contrast perfectly with Lizard Boy’s edgy dynamics.
With cleverly choreographed musical numbers and dream-like sequences, the performance exhibits a sense of fascination and creativity that perfectly captures the boldness of the show. Without detracting from the performance, Lizard Boy incorporates various artistic components, including children’s toy instruments. The three-person cast utilizes multiple instruments, the set and their haunting voices to achieve a unique punk sound.
The progression of the play parallels that of a comic book, leaving the audience with a cliffhanger. Its ambiguity is a tad frustrating because although the concepts line up, the musical is not a comic book. The vague ending reveals gaps within the plot. There are loose ends and unanswered questions about the fate of the characters’ lives.
As a whole however, Lizard Boy’s charming characters, captivating story and gutsy theatrical choices elicit conversations about self-worth. The courageous decisions of seemingly average characters are a statement of daring and a call for everyone to be brave enough to recognize the hero in themselves.
Student tickets are priced at $18. However, $5 front row tickets are sold one hour prior to each performance. Lizard Boy runs through May 2 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre.