Playwright Carter W. Lewis enjoys a close relationship with his alma mater, Otterbein University. The school commissioned and staged both his 1996 comedy "Picasso Does My Maps" and his "Longevity Abbreviated for Those Who Don't Have Time" in 2000. This weekend, Otterbein presents his 2009 darkly comic drama, "The Storytelling Ability of a Boy," directed by Dennis Romer.

Playwright Carter W. Lewis enjoys a close relationship with his alma mater, Otterbein University. The school commissioned and staged both his 1996 comedy "Picasso Does My Maps" and his "Longevity Abbreviated for Those Who Don't Have Time" in 2000. This weekend, Otterbein presents his 2009 darkly comic drama, "The Storytelling Ability of a Boy," directed by Dennis Romer.

"Storytelling" brings to the stage a trio of misfits. Peck, the teenager referenced in the title, aspires to be a writer. But in the meantime, he must suffer the wrath of school bullies.

Dora, his best friend and unrequited crush, tends toward anger and rebellion, yet she revels in her verbal exchanges with Peck. Their young, divorced English teacher, Caitlin, wants to nurture Peck's talents, but in the process she becomes the third point in a volatile triangle. Each one harbors secrets that come to light after one of Peck's encounters with his tormentors.

Like another Lewis play staged recently in Columbus - "Evie's Waltz," put on by CATCO in February 2010 - "Storytelling" features violence, teen angst and adults' ineptitude.

Through storyteller Peck, re-teller Dora and teacher Caitlin, Lewis has tried to lend an unusual multidimensionality to his play. Each character takes on both narrative and participatory roles.

Some critics have seen that as magical and musical, others as ponderous and pretentious. Otterbein audiences will make up their own minds.