Based on Scott Heim's novel of the same name—which also spawned a 2004 Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie—Mysterious Skin is about two young men who were sexually assaulted by their Little League coach as children. The abuse affects their lives in wildly different ways: Neil (Montetré) moves to New York City and becomes a hustler; Brian (Jeremy Gilhausen) completely blacks out the experience, and eventually grows to believe the blackouts were caused by alien abduction.
The graphic subject matter lends the play a car-crash fascination that at least never gets boring, but in the hands of brand-new company Book of Dreams Productions, the show is dogged by issues common to amateur theater: Performances are stilted and self-conscious, lines are botched, and odd costuming and makeup choices further distract from the ensemble's efforts to build their characters. (Obvious attempts to cover tattoos are more distracting than a visible tattoo would be, and when Neil gets beaten up by a particularly violent trick, the post-fight makeup job makes him look like Raggedy Andy.)
Amid a few solid secondary performances (from scene vet Michael Teufel and the versatile Christina Lark), there is one vivid highlight: Newcomer Tavis Larsen turns in a subtle, assured performance as Neil's love-struck friend. And when it comes to no-budget, labor-of-love local theater, sometimes one standout performance is the best you can hope for.