Review by Tulis McCall
WARNING !! WARNING !! WARNING !! It’s immediately clear in Thomas Bradshaw’s new play “Intimacy” that the emperor definitely has no clothes on. We visit with three neighbor’s households in suburbia. Eventually everyone sheds their clothes, literally. In addition to nudity the characters spew their issues: "Mexicans are lazy"; "Jews are cheap"; "Kids make fun of me because my mother works in Walmart"; "People stopped talking to me when I got cancer and lost my hair."
We are meant to be shocked and emotionally spun around. Are we being provoked to consider our thoughts on these raw issues? Some people weren’t interested in pondering, they fled during intermission. Other audience members laughed, a little too loudly. Were they related to any of the actors?
In previous interviews the author stated that current theater was boring and more boundaries needed to be pushed. He claims that he is presenting reality, a hyper-reality that people don’t want to believe. One of his previous plays, 'Purity' based on a newspaper article deals with two professors who travel to Ecuador to have sex with a 9-year-old-girl. His play 'Burning' was inspired by a brother and sister suing the German government for the right to marry. The author is black and states his exploration of race is not traditional. His play 'Cleansing' deals with a bi-racial girl’s discovery that her grandfather was a grand wizard of the K.K.K.
The seven member cast performed on a professional basis. Since there really is no line between this production and pornography I wonder how the actors made that transition. I had a moment of hope when the female college professor questioned; “Where did the women’s movement go? Girls stopped wearing makeup and now they are making themselves into objects.” I thought we were going to examine our society’s plunge into decadence. But, no, the same woman applauds her daughter’s nudity in Barely Legal magazine, and the girl’s”independent” career choice working in porn films. “She is helping people.”
Act Two focuses on a young man’s making of a porno movie, of course all the neighbors are included. Just a few of the “highlights” of the evening: nude man masturbating – liquid shoots up (audience applauds?); a man on a toilet calls his wife in to examine his dark stool; hispanic male contractor laughs at liberals who don’t own guns, same contractor jerking off to computer (how does he keep his erection?) (Note: first two rows of seats have a reduced ticket price!!).
The conclusion is that through the making of the porn film everyone has achieved true intimacy. The straight boy seduced by the older man is now happy in his bi-sexuality. The wife permits anal sex (demonstrated close up on a video screen) and discovers her paradise. The young porn star marries the older father of the filmmaker after “transformative” sex. This play is subtitled “a new comedy romp”. This is not a ha-ha free romp. I am still reeling from the ruined lives of people, children and adults sexually molested in a world that requires hush hush on the subject. The author is Professor of Playwriting at Northwestern University. He has been featured as one of Time Out New York’s Ten Playwrights to Watch and Best Provocative Playwright by the Village Voice.
"Sensationally square new play."
Ben Brantley for New York Times
"Too much of the play is sophomoric and gratuitously gross."
Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News
"Through it all you can’t accuse the show of being boring, and it always engages our attention — if only to make us wonder what insanity Bradshaw will come up with next."
Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post
"It's a comedy that isn't terribly amusing."
Robert Feldberg for The Record
"Offers witless conversation, banal situations and sundry sex acts."
Michael Sommers of the Newsroom Jersey
External links to full reviews from popular press...