The Boy at the Edge of Everything, currently playing at Seattle Children's Theatre, tells the story of two boys, an overscheduled 12-year-old on Earth who has too much to do and not enough time, and another boy living at the edge of the universe who has too much time and not enough to do. When these two unlikely friends meet, they discover that they each have something to teach the other.
The play begins with Simon, a 12-year-old asthmatic who is running from place to place in his busy life. In science class, his teacher talks about the expanding universe, prompting Simon to dream of living in space — where he imagines it would be quiet and no one would need him to do anything.
On the other side of the universe, another boy lives alone. He has so much time that he’s already done everything and now has to “re-do” things. He passes the time reading books and using his binoculars to observe life on other planets. He likes his quiet, solitary life but occasionally wishes that someone would need him to do something.
When Simon tries to tell his loud, chaotic family that he has been thinking about “space,” they assume he wants to be an astronaut. So, despite Simon’s protests, they build him a pretend space capsule. The experiment goes horribly wrong and he is accidentally blasted into space, landing in the other boy's begonias.
The two boys compare lives and eventually become friends. But soon, Simon begins looking for a way to return home.
The five actors in this play are very talented, with all but one actor playing more than one character. The script raises lots of deep questions which will be excellent discussion topics for the family dinner table. What is time and how does our perception of it alter depending on the situation? Can you have too much or too little of it? What's the value in boredom?
We enjoyed the quirky and clever script, and a fun “aha!” moment at the end. My 10-year-old daughter also enjoyed the Q&A with the actors and getting their autographs.
Small caveat: Although the play has plenty of funny moments, it has a bit of a slow start which might be too slow for younger children. The action — and the humor — pick up in the second half. But overall, I highly recommend this show.
From my 10-and-a-half-year-old daughter: “I loved it and want to see it again!” “It made me think a lot!”
Parents should know
The Boy at the Edge of Everything is listed as appropriate for ages 8 and up, but I would tend to recommend this for slightly older elementary-school kids, tweens and teens because of the weighty — though not controversial — issues the play covers.
However, there were several younger kids sitting around us who seemed to enjoy the show. Parents will know best if their children are ready.