Faculty Portrait

Custodian Jamie J (Julie Thaxler-Gourlay) watches Claire (Phoebe Holden) shout for attention in Faculty Portrait at IRT Theater in the West Village. Original photos by Ellen Bryan/Lenny’s Lens Photoography.
In January, 17 Minutes earned 5 stars for depicting the wake of a high-school shooting. How does this production compare?

By Andrew Andrews

At after-school detention, Kyle is under the watch of Mr. Y. in the very same classroom where the teacher’s wife was gunned down a year earlier by a student.

When Amy and Helen arrive to interview Mr. Y for the high school yearbook, we learn that Amy’s secret girlfriend Claire was also a victim of the shooter. Meanwhile, Helen and Kyle are at odds with each other, having ended their own clandestine relationship some time ago.

When the school custodian appears to fix a stuck window that might be sealed by dried blood, tension leads to a shouting match with Mr. Y and the custodian seemingly stuck in the middle.

Faculty Portrait shakes up the pivotal moments before, during and after the shooting, then dumps them out haphazardly to be pieced together in the aftermath.

Barely three months into the year, this is already the second production we’ve attended about a school shooting—the first being The Barrow Group’s five-star production of 17 Minutes in January—so it seems only natural to compare the two:

Russ Cusick, Molly Schenkenberger, Shammah Speed Waller, Phoebe Holden, Julie Thaxter-Gourlay and Jessica Nesi.

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Andrew Andrews attended Faculty Portrait at IRT Theater in New York on Sunday, March 8, 2020 @ 3:00pm to write this review.

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