Bobby and Matt, written and directed by Kevin Cochran, features two accomplished actors: Frank Simons as Bobby and David Allen Jones as Matt. The simple set is made up of two chairs with built-in lecterns. The format is similar to “Love Letters” in which the two actors read letters and notes to each other.
They don’t look at each other and indeed during the first act they lowered their eyes too much while reading. You could close your eyes and not miss a thing, but you will still be aurally captivated by the vocal nuances and emotional expressions as the two men fully inhabit their characters.
Their letters begin at age eight as classmates in 1959. Bobby and Matt vocally express juvenile subjects. Years pass and now they are in high school and the topic turns to sex. However, Matt, the good Catholic, is slow to partake. The difference between the two friends is helped by the casual dress of Bobby and the more formally garbed Matt. Matt is a military brat. At 18 he joins the Army and is sent to Vietnam. Bobby meanwhile has become a renowned gay writer, unbeknownst to Matt, who is quite homophobic.
Matt’s experience in Vietnam is poignantly written. He’s wounded and receives the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor. The play, which overuses the word “ironic,” has Bobby wounded at Kent State during anti-war riots. Matt rises to the rank of Brigadier General. In the second act, their ongoing relationship changes dramatically and is perfectly resolved.
Bobby and Matt is at the Grove Theater Center, 1111-B West Olive Ave. in Burbank. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., ending October 30. Free parking is available and the venue is wheel chair accessible. Admission is $20 and $15 for student, senior and Burbank residents.
For tickets, call (818) 526-6622 or go online at www.gtc.org.