The Trouble with Mr. Adams

Have you ever watched something with an awkward smile plastered on your face for over an hour?

I have. Yesterday, in fact, when I watched The Trouble with Mr. Adams at Tarragon Theatre, the third play I selected as part of my five-play subscription.

The Trouble with Mr. Adams tells the story of a high school phys-ed teacher who is obviously experiencing a mid-life crisis. Mr. Adams has fallen in love with one of his underage high school students, and his wife is (understandably) not pleased.

The majority of the play teases the audience…did it happen? Did Mr. Adams have sex with a minor? You have to wait to the end of the play to find out.

The production contains scenes of nudity and foul language that viewers may not be comfortable with (in addition to the uncomfortable premise of the play).

I was fortunate to attend the show on a talkback night, where the cast was available to answer questions about the production. I asked if the play would ever be performed with a reversal of gender roles, how the cast would feel about such a change – and how the audience reaction might shift with this new premise. The response was that it was a good question (I’m so cool) and that the reversal could make for an interesting change (though this wasn’t something in the works, and the play was written with a male protagonist in mind). If this play was re-cast with a gender reversal, I would definitely go see it again. Would the tone of the play shift with the casting of a female teacher and young male student instead? I don’t know (but I suspect the answer is “yes”).

The Trouble with Mr. Adams runs until November 29 at Tarragon Theatre.

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