It’s hard to punch a timecard when you’re Rapture ready. Salvation can’t come fast enough in “A Bright New Boise,” Samuel D. Hunter’s anxious, funny look at the messianic and the mundane in America, now receiving a solid West Coast premiere by Rogue Machine Theatre.
After fleeing a scandal at his evangelical church, mild-mannered Will (Matthew Elkins) takes a minimum-wage job at Hobby Lobby, a big-box craft store managed by Pauline (Betsy Zajko). In the break room, Will’s co-workers Alex (Erik Odom) and his brother, Leroy (Trevor Peterson), fight corporate power with slam poetry and ironic T-shirts — one of which proclaims “You Will Eat Your Children,” hipster snark that becomes an eerie prophecy as the play unspools.
Hunter drops a terrific surprise early on that hooks you, and “Boise,” nominated for a Drama Desk Award last year, works as a tragicomic character study of real people trying to survive the wreck of their own lives.
Director John Perrin Flynn skillfully calibrates the story’s lurching reveals, although the strong cast yells its way too loudly through one or two key moments. Odom is particularly affecting as the confused, adopted Alex, and his outbursts of pain and need give the play its emotional center.