Monday, December 19, 2011


Thomas Bradshaw’s “Burning” just closed. You didn’t miss anything unless you'd like to see a gay actor named Jack (Andrew Garman), who plays Banquo and is in charge of admissions at a prestigious performing arts high school having sex with a 14 year old boy, Chris (Evan Johnson), whose mother has just died of a drug overdose and whose paternity issues are epitomized by the fact that his favorite play is Strindberg’s The Father. The actor lives with a producer named Simon (Danny Mastrogiorgio) and the two have sex with the boy (incidentally also an applicant at the performing arts high school) and eventually employ him as a butler while introducing him to Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom. Simon has cast Jack in a one man monologue about a pedophile who buys a six year old girl in a Cambodian brothel and brings her back to the States where he turns her into a pageant queen. You still didn’t miss anything unless you would like to see a black painter named Peter (Stephen Tyrone Williams) who does such a good job of hiding his race that a group of German neo-Nazis believe his depictions of Klan rallies are arguments for white supremacy (Peter is also unique in the fact that he has never had sex with a black woman—a situation that Bradshaw’s play rectifies when Peter falls in love with a Sudanese prostitute who reminds him of the recently deceased cousin Lucy he’d spent his life avoiding). One of the neo-Nazis has a handicapped sister who appears half nude on stage. She takes fiber for constipation, likes to quote Emily Dickinson and allows her brother to afford her “release” in the bathtub. You still didn’t miss anything unless you are interested in a total of three mothers who die of drug overdoses with a fourth killed in a car crash, a theater producer who pretends to be gay in order to get work and an aspiring heterosexual teenager whose first sexual experience with a hermaphrodite introduces him to the fact that he might not be what he thinks. You didn’t miss anything unless you like lots of characters who strip themselves bare both literally and metaphorically. You didn’t miss anything unless you enjoy satire whose backbone is back story. Macbeth's "life's...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,signifying nothing,” is quoted during a self-congratulatoryand histrionic eulogy after which the remains from two separate urns are mixed together with Elton John’s “Your Song” playing in the background. But aren't the famous lines precisely what great satire is all about?

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