CST’s ‘Distracted’ a difficult commentary on society

JOHN BRANDENBURG
For The Oklahoman
Modified: May 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm •  Published: May 23, 2012
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A play in which the parents often seemed as “Distracted” as their 9-year-old son with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was staged Friday at Carpenter Square Theatre, 800 W Main.

The script by Lisa Loomer was less a true comedy than it was a “problem play,” dealing with such things as multi-tasking, over-medication, lack of attention span and bad communications in our society.

All of which wasn’t that funny or easy to enjoy in escapist entertainment terms, but it did make spectators think seriously about many of the issues it raised, without ultimately resolving them.

Mona Campbell was outstanding as the mother who starts her days trying to meditate, but is soon overwhelmed by the “distractions” all around her, and eventually loses her last client as an interior decorator.

Campbell conveyed her character’s willingness to try almost anything to save her son, from homeopathy and behavior modification, to medications with disturbing side effects, and non-drug therapy out of state.

Supplying a good counterpoint to the mother’s struggle to save her child and her marriage were the responses of David Burkhart as her husband, who often seemed in conflict with himself as well as her.

Not easy to like and sharing some of his son’s inability to focus, Burkhart did get across in powerful terms, the father’s anti-drug stance and commitment to letting his child be a child, whatever his problems.

A seventh grader at Whittier Middle School in Norman, Ian McDougall did a good job supplying more fuel to the already combustible family equation, in the smaller role of their hyperactive son, Jesse.

McDougall was like a loose cannon or jack-in-the-box, shouting back or seeming to appear from nowhere, and offering often R-rated resistance to his parents’ attempts to get him to finish mundane tasks.

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