by Robert Bell
7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.
S.E. Hinton was only 17 in 1967 when her first novel, "The Outsiders," was published. The book was widely credited with expanding the scope of young-adult fiction and would go on to sell millions and millions of copies, inspiring the 1983 film of the same title.
Hinton has said that she wrote the book out of frustration with much of what was marketed to young readers at the time. Her tale of switchblades and gang fights was informed from her real-life experiences and was probably fairly shocking to the square community at the time.
In 2012, the idea of "rumbles" between Greasers and Socs seems pretty quaint, especially compared to the inner-city warfare we've witnessed in the intervening years. But many of the book's themes — class rivalry, dysfunctional families and relying on literature and art to escape the grind of daily life — are evergreen.
This stage adaptation, by Christopher Sergel, breaks the book into two acts and hews closely to the original. The Weekend Theater is back up and running again after a car smashed into the front of it earlier in the month.
This production runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 15.