Saturday, November 19, 2011

Burning *

Anal intercourse (straight and gay), anilingus, cunnilingus, fellatio, incestuous masturbation, pedophilia -- all are onstage in Thomas Bradshaw's new play, now in a New Group production on Theatre Row. Long after the shock and titillation wore off, the sex scenes continued until a groan was audible at the sight of yet another character disrobing. All this carnal activity is allegedly in service to a convoluted plot that takes place both in the 1980's and the present. Among the characters in New York are a 14-year-old hustler who wants to be an actor, a gay producer and actor who take him in to be their slave, a black artist who keeps his race a professional secret, his British wife, and his late cousin's sexually confused son. In Berlin we meet a neo-Nazi brother and sister, their constipated friend, and a gorgeous prostitute allegedly from Ethiopia. An occasional quotation from the Marquis de Sade is thrown in to supply philosophical ballast. And so it goes, on and on for almost three hours. It was often unclear to me whether the playwright was being satirical or in earnest. If there was a point to it all, it was lost on me. I will spare the actors mentioning their names. Scott Elliott directed.

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