The story … The life of Vernon Little, a normal teenager who lives in Martirio, Texas, falls apart when Jesus Navarro murders their classmates in the schoolyard before killing himself, and Vernon is taken in for questioning. The media descend looking for someone to blame, someone to sensationalize their stories. The town wants vengeance. Vernon, described as a nasty, sarcastic teenager, and best friend of the shooter, Jesus, seems the likely target. He is accused of being an accessory to the crime.
He runs to Mexico but is tricked into confessing to the crime and is brought back. The play climaxes in a death-row reality TV show. He is found guilty and sentenced to death.
His former attorney persists and at the last moment comes with the evidence that proves his innocence. Vernon, whose cynicism and smart-ass behavior give way to a poignant curiosity about the meaning of life, becomes a fully human, profoundly sympathetic character.
That is basically the story the play tells. The play is laced with four-letter words, includes seduction and betrayal. Yet Vernon, it is said, comes through as likeable and sympathetic … the kind of character who just can’t catch a break, even though he probably deserves one. The reviews of Colin’s participation were glowing. Among them:
“Colin Morgan’s Vernon belies his relative inexperience. Even if you can see Norris’ directorial hand moulding his youthful enthusiasm at moments, it is still an exceptional achievement to hold the dramatic centre of the piece with such aplomb.” (http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/2702)
The Stage said this about his performance, “Full of restless energy and youthful charisma from start to finish, Morgan is an absolute delight and carries the weight of the production on his shoulders with ease and a certain swagger, in what is his major stage debut.
Charles Spencer, The Telegraph: Colin Morgan, still at drama school and making a sensational professional stage debut, captures all the vulnerability, confusion and gallows humour of the adolescent hero who finds himself in no end of trouble, before making the happier discovery that trouble is the one sure way of getting girls. By the end you feel like cheering him on to a happy ending.
As Alison Jane Reid observed, much later in 2012: Morgan also seems drawn to play some of life’s outcasts – the uncomfortable, challenging fascinating roles, that linger long after the performance has ended.
So Colin begins his career on the “dark:” side of drama. As we have previously discussed, this won’t be the last.