Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Jocker

photo: Carol Rosegg

There's a moment in The Jocker when an abusive tough-guy wakes up a runaway by roughly snatching his blanket and leaving him bareassed naked. The runaway (Nick Matthews) stays exposed far longer than the mere purposes of drama would reasonably allow; we're being given time to linger on the actor's dimpled butt. There's no doubt we're at the Wings Theatre seeing something in their annual Gay Plays series, where the stories are usually like pulp novels and there's almost always gratuitous male nudity. This one, a drama about men who ride the rails during the Depression, has more skin than most, so much that after a while it starts to feel like we're watching a gay porno film minus the sex scenes. The performances are, of course, better than that: the play's nicely-rendered B-plot, about a warm-hearted married hobo and the African-American male whore he falls for, is especially well-acted by David Tacheny and Stephen Tyrone Williams. The play is tidy and one of the better examples of what the Wings does, but I never know quite how to take what it is that they do.

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