Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Booty Candy

Fresh, provocative new American theater relevant to to the fabric of our society.  That's just what you'll get with Robert O'Hara's new work on the Main Stage at Playwrights Horizons.

Booty Candy is really a series of skits interwoven into a single production.   In what might be a departure from the norm, the playwright quite literally forces the audience to examine their views of the play about mid-way - - overtly asking the questions about what it means and where it's going.  One guest on stage during this "Conference" scene suggests, as the audience likely already feels, that we should "choke" on the material.  What he means is that it is should be uncomfortable, unrepentant, and provocative.  I think it's fairly true.

I have mixed feelings leaving the play.  It did make me think, it entertained, and I did "choke" on the material at times.  However, at the same time, it felt somewhat disjointed, unusually instructive, purposefully "in-your-face",  and perhaps overly gratuitous at times.

Featuring Phillip James Brannon, Jessica Frances Dukes, Jesse Pennington, Benja Kay Thomas, and Lance Coadie Williams - all playing multiple characters except for Mr. Brannon who played the single unifying character of Sutter.  He's the one growing up black and gay and surrounded directly or indirectly by all these other characters in all 10 or so scenes.

It's fair to say the scenes had a common theme but ran the gamut from an un-wedding ceremony on a beach to a family around a black family's dinner table, to a phone conversation between four characters, cleverly staged and costumed by two actors.

Check it out for yourself.  Most plays at Playwrights Horizons are worth the off-Broadway ticket price and this first play of their 2014-2015 season is no exception.