Monday, November 16, 2009

Let's Spend The Night Together

Loaded is the first play Elliot Ramon Potts has ever written and his inexperience shows, but its being given an impressive production under the direction of Michael Unger. The play opened yesterday at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row where it is running through January 23.

The plot is simple--Jude (Scott Kerns) is spending the night at Patrick's (Kevin Spirtas), his much older lover, for the first time. They've been having sex "nonstop for three meals" (not shown onstage, though there is full-frontal nudity) and, to Patrick's dismay, are giving it a rest to get to know each other better. A few of the topics they debate are marriage equality, AIDS (both are HIV-positive), children, and lesbians. The conversation reveals generational differences--Jude is optimistic and occasionally reckless, whereas Patrick has the cynicism of one who has watched many of his friends die from AIDS.

Potts has a lot of potential as a playwright. Although sometimes the language seems a little too verbose for post-coital conversation, the dialogue often rings true. The arguments go around in circles as Patrick and Jude leave topics, only to bring them back up again, and never resolve them. This may be frustrating for thye characters and audience, which makes it believable. Also to his credit, Potts avoids becoming preachy or picking a side, but where the play suffers is that it becomes an evening of debating every issue of importance to the gay community and we lose sight of the characters, who occasionally run the risk of becoming cliches. Kerns and Spirtas, two charismatic actors with great chemistry, do make their characters as three-dimensional as possible, but it's still hard to avoid seeing them as sounding boards.

Adam Koch, who cleverly used not much more than a door for Rooms: A Rock Romance, takes a more realistic approach here, but one that is no less effective. The set makes you feel as though you've stepped into a Manhattan studio with the kitchen connected to the bedroom, an appropriate amount of clutter and take-out containers, and art (by Geoff Chadsey) adorning the walls. It certainly gives the audience more than enough to look at if the dialogue becomes too loaded.
Photo credit: David Morgan

No comments: