Taking aim at a topic as loaded as the revolver with which its characters take turns menacing one another, Buddy Farmer’s “Alabama Baggage” centers on the traumatic scars of childhood sexual abuse. The drama’s first full staging at Theatre Asylum falls short of its serious intentions, however, with the need for further development still evident.
A good starting place for rework would be to clarify and fully commit to those intentions. At present, the play teeters awkwardly between realistic exploration of survivor psychology and over-the-top Southern Gothic revenge thriller.
Set in a Kentucky cemetery in the dead of night, the action brings long-buried secrets to light as local sheriff Ben (Will Blagrove) discovers a stranger from Alabama named Lucas (Ashley McGee) desecrating the grave of a supposed pillar of the community, a man who turns out to have been a serial predator who abused them both when they were adolescents.
Particularly contrived plot twists enable the victims to confront their attacker, Hal (John Combs), and then arbitrarily vacillate between seeking vengeance or granting forgiveness.