Review: BRAT at Bocón Theatre Celebrates Military Kids

See it Friday, April 26th at 7pm.

By: Apr. 17, 2024
Review: BRAT at Bocón Theatre Celebrates Military Kids
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It seems apt that “Brat” had its world premiere in the Light Box Theatre at Liberty Station, a former military location last weekend and during April which is the month of the military child. This new play presented by Bocón Theatre looks at the unique life of being the kid of a military parent, aka a “brat." The next performance is Friday, April 26th.

 Suitable for all ages, this play written by Wendy Maples and directed by Carla Nell is a funny, sweet, and illuminating look at what it is like growing up in this family dynamic.  The ensemble cast, Veronica Burgess, Samantha Ginn, Cory Hammon, William Huffaker, and Patrick Mayuyu play multiple characters throughout this one-hour play

Being a military brat is an experience that is unique as they manage their different situations however, all stories have an underlying commonality in what it’s like to be a child living at the whim of military assignments. 

The play follows one family with a Mom in the service, a Dad keeping everything running at home, and two sisters, one older, and one just starting kindergarten.  As the years and locations go by, the audience experiences these circumstances, the highs and lows, along with them.

Review: BRAT at Bocón Theatre Celebrates Military Kids

On a set with multi-use props designed by Isabel Simoes deCarvalho, the ensemble switches in and out of characters, though each becomes the main character at some point.  From trying to make friends in every new location, why “brat” isn’t a bad word, or having expectations dashed as reunions or moving dates are changed on a whim, it shows the ways this life asks you to grow up a little bit faster than other kids your age may have to do.

The ensemble works smoothly as they make quick character changes, and all have moments to shine.  Some moments include Ginn as the stay-at-home dad, Hammond as an array of teachers, Mayuyu as some sassy friends, Huffaker as a sweet high school boy, and Burgess as an encouraging older sister.

Wendy Maples is an artist and a teacher, showing both in her writing. The kid characters are endearing and nuanced in a way that can only be done by someone who understands how funny, judgmental, vulnerable, and resilient kids can be. (Also, I love that my favorite book in school “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” got a shout-out!)

Direction by Carla Nell keeps everything moving smoothly and clearly, especially during transitions of location or age. There is a strong feeling of friendship between the performers and the characters reinforcing the sense of unique community in the piece.

Bocón Theatre strives to present pieces that reflect multicultural lives and experiences and to bring a glimpse of that to people outside of those backgrounds. “Brat” fits into this neatly, as it was inspired by real-life stories of military “brats” (the play does discuss some of the possible origins of the term) and honors the distinctive and resilient journey of constant change these kids live.

As one character proclaims they are “a dandelion” (the official flower of the military brat due to its ability to flourish anywhere) and like a dandelion I hope that “Brat” has a chance to journey far and wide in schools and beyond.

How to Get Tickets

“Brat” presented by Bocón Theatre is playing on Friday, April 26th at 7pm in MIsison Valley at the Trinity Theatre. All shows are free, with support from the California Arts Council and San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Patrons are encouraged to make reservations at

Bocón will also have performances of "Brat" at Camp Pendleton, Perry Elementary, and Canyon Hills High School in the Murphy Canyon Military Housing community, which is the largest military housing in the world.

Photo Credit:  Bocón Theatre


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