Teenagers Grapple With Their Demons in ‘Wilderness’

Posted on: October 27th, 2016 by admin No Comments

A fierce, sad gale blows through “Wilderness,” a terrific, moving new multimedia theater piece about troubled youth being presented by En Garde Arts in association with Abrons Arts Center.

The title refers to a program for psychologically disturbed teenagers and young adults that gathers them in the outdoors for days or weeks of group therapeutic treatment. But it also speaks to the idea that in contemporary culture, with its often fragmented families and onslaught of social media, kids today are navigating their way to adulthood in a world in which the old signposts have all but been obliterated, and the path has grown thick with thorny emotional underbrush. The result: anxiety, sadness, self-doubt, addiction and various other hard-to-vanquish demons.

As with prior shows from Anne Hamburger’s En Garde, such as “Basetrack Live,” seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the show, written by Seth Bockley and Ms. Hamburger, and directed by Mr. Bockley, draws on interviews with real people. It incorporates actual Skype interviews with some of the parents of the characters represented, projected on video screens. (My hat’s off to the brave men and women who agreed to publicly air their stories. And to Ms. Hamburger, whose personal experience partly inspired the show.)