When does holding someone accountable for bullying cross the line and become more about getting even and enacting revenge?
That's the main question in Michael Perlman's 2012 play, "From White Plains," opening Friday at the Albany Barn and running through Nov. 17.
"It's a play that asks the question, is it OK to bully a bully?" said Ian LaChance, one of the four principle characters in the Creative License production being directed by Aaron Holbritter. "When you call out someone for bullying, is it OK to bully that person into apologizing?"
"From White Plains" begins with Dennis, played by Nick Bosanko, winning an Oscar for a movie script he wrote based on his experience growing up in White Plains. Dennis, we learn, lost a good friend to suicide in high school, and in his Oscar acceptance speech he calls out Ethan, played by LaChance, for bullying his friend while they were all in high school.
Ethan, watching this all unfold on television, suddenly finds himself in a social media firestorm. LaChance, after reading the script shown him by Holbritter and his partner at Creative License, Casey Polomaine, didn't think twice about saying yes to being a part of the production.
"It was a script that Aaron and Casey had ordered, and once we read it we all really liked it," said LaChance. "Unfortunately my character still has some of those bullying tendancies, that fraternity kind of behavior that indicates he hasn't completely grown up since high school."
For Holbritter, who formed Creative License with Polomaine four years ago, the opportunity to perform a play that is so relevant to what's going on today was too good to pass up.
"It's very exciting for us to find a new play that touches on current issues like the lasting effects of bullying and the weaponization of social media," said Holbritter. "That it deals with these issues through the lens of characters who seem very real and of our time is what makes it a perfect show for Creative License."
Also in the cast are Isaac Newberry and Steve Maggio. The four actors all shared the stage in the Creative License production of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" in 2017.
"These kind of stories are happening all the time," said Holbritter. "How responsible are we for the things we may have done as kids? How do we define justice? When do we forgive? I was struck by the balanced way the play handles the topic by creating four well-intentioned, but flawed human beings."
It's just the kind of play, according to LaChance, that his friends Holbritter and Polomaine were looking for when they created Creative License.
"We have a very strong friendship, and I really enjoy what they are trying to do," LaChance said. "The plays we do at Creative License are new and edgy, and they might get a little less attention than some other plays, but it's very good theater."
An associate registrar at Hudson Valley Community College, LaChance has also performed at various other venues in the Capital Region, including Curtain Call Theatre in Latham and Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs.
"I usually like to do about two shows a year," said LaChance, who lives in Wynantskill. "Carol Max at Curtain Call always has a nice variety of scripts, so I've done a lot over there, and I really like what Aaron and Casey are doing with Creative License. I'm not officially connected to the place, but I'm very good friends with Aaron and Casey so I am emotionally connected."
'From White Plains'
WHERE: Creative License, Albany Barn, 56 2nd St., Albany
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Nov. 17; all performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
HOW MUCH: $15
MORE INFO: Visit www.creativelicenseonline.com