In Kenneth Lonergan's This is Our Youth, Dennis Ziegler (Joshua Everett Johnson) is a small-time drug dealer and user. He is a mental mess. As with his two contemporaries, he comes from an affluent family but prefers to live in an unkempt dump. Warren Straub (Tom Zohar) has a hero-worship complex of Dennis. He is emotionally immature and has run away from his wealthy, abusive father, impulsively absconding with $15,000. Rounding out the trio of this college-age group is Jessica Goldman (Rachael VanWormer), a mod-dressed prep-school girl about to have a very new experience with Warren.
Francis Gercke's direction is inspired. He violates rules. He puts in pauses that are not only pregnant but about to give birth. They give the moment and emotions more power and more expression.
This Is Our Youth typifies many of the tribulations facing city kids. While set in the '80s, it could have been, somewhat less traumatically, in the '50s or, possibly more traumatically, in the beginning of this century. These dissimilar young people attempting to leave the protection (and restrictions) of their homes face life on their terms. Some of it can bring great pleasure for a moment as experienced by Warren, terrible desperation by Dennis, and deep confusion by Jessica. This cast gives all of this to their audience, and we laugh and cry along with them. Don't miss it.