Rajiv Joseph's dark romantic comedy is a typical boy meets girl story with a twist: every defining moment boy spends with girl is marked by his injuries requiring trips to the school nurse's office, later a hospital, until he ends up incapable of bringing on more self-harm. The relationship that spans 30 years between them is as gauzy as bandages, wobbly as crutches, consistent as an IV drip and as constrictive as a wheelchair. They connect on the physical plane of pain and act as salves to their emotional hurts brought on by their choices and by each other.
It's an interesting concept but the lack of verisimilitude in the artificial setup undermines this grisly courtship with heavy-handed symbolism and an unsatisfying lack of resolve or epiphany. Further exacerbating the superficial appeal is the playwright's inscrutable demand of setting up scenes in a non-sequential order. The injuries, primarily inflicted by the white knight's brave but foolish boyhood antics such as jumping off the school roof on his bike or lighting firecrackers too close to his face are uncomfortably juxtaposed by mortal accidents like being struck by lightning.
This irony is lost in the tenuous cohesion of a timeline connecting these incidents by etching an age and a theme onto a small chalkboard. Towards the final two scenes, Joseph is forced by his own hand to collapse the chronology into a final conclusion riddled by query, vague sentiments and a lack of closure both for the characters point of view and the audience. It is frustrating because there is a lot of promise to the premise too orchestrated perhaps to escape its conceit.