By Kelly Luck
The Coterie brings some heavy fare to Westport Coffee House in the form of A Bird of Prey, a story about the perils of high school, finding your place, and dealing with the dynamics of an environment that's almost a constant trial-by-fire. And if that weren't enough, someone is murdering children. Their ghosts speak to us, begging to be heard, watching helplessly as the cycle begins anew.
The story mostly revolves around the relationship between Monty (B.J. Sudhoff) and Thacker (Colton Richards), a besuited, bible-toting new kid in town who strikes up an unlikely friendship with the local bad seed. Thacker is into some bad stuff, though most people don't care to guess exactly what. Still, when he's the last person seen with Corvette (Cameron Smith) before his disappearance, suspicion naturally turns in his direction.
The story alternates between interactions between the students, and monologues to the audience. Sometimes the "angels" of the deceased children stand and watch mutely, sometimes they address us. The writing is a heavy-handed at times, particularly the angels' parts, but the dialogue of the students generally rings true. Those with vivid memories of high school will recognize the social dynamics at play all too well.
Each performance is followed by a 30-minute "teen open mike", at which any person 19 or younger may take a few minutes to read, sing, play or whatever they feel moved to do. This makes for an intriguing addition, and is worth catching a performance when your schedule allows to stay on afterwards.