Nibbler @ Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
I love when I get to pontificate on theater here. It’s not often that what I see on stage fits the naughty/fun/brainy ethos I try to circle round in my SEX FILES column, but The Amoralists production of the new Ken Urban play The Nibbler fits the bill on so many levels, the least of which is how much fun and sexy stuff it has in its 95 minutes.
Down at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre @ 224 Waverly Place (one of my most favorite village theater spots), the cast of Rachel Franco, James Kautz, Elizabeth Lail, Matthew Lawler, Spencer Davis Milford, and Sean Patrick Monahan, basically tear around the one-set stage (though the back wall was pushed in and out to delineate different locations) in a story that includes a very interesting (dare I say, ‘otherworldly) element “nibbling” its way into a staid New Jersey suburban town in the early 90’s.
What really works in this play is the at-times rapid fire delivery Urban gives these supremely competent players and how even the otherworldly unusual element, something that at times does evoke titters from the audience, gives one as much a sense of creepiness as well as sexuality. The theme of the play is rather obvious (not a bad thing to be sure) but what makes this work mainly for me is the performances and how director Benjamin Kamine manages his players low, high and in-between moments.
To be sure, this is a play about sexual animus, featuring lots of nudity and exploring some issues I could feel ripple uncomfortably through the audience, often times revealed in coat moving and the clearing of throats. Really, what has happened to supposedly hip, younger audiences these days? It has been my unfortunate experience lately in New York theatre (especially off-Broadway, where often times headier/risky subjects are tackled) that audiences are more than a bit skittish over certain subjects in the light of recent political events and the way the blog o’sphere are telling us we have to react. It’s a phenomena I have seen writ large now quite a few times. Let me give you some examples; in Nibbler a female character “asks” to be raped, at another time a male character describes wild sexual fantasies; you could just hear the audience, now being raised on a diet of PCness we have never seen the likes of, reacting that a woman could say something like that aloud or we might even see a penis once or twice during the show.
How dare The Amoralists try such things in this day and age? I say thank God they are and get your ass (can I say ass…well, sorry I just did) down to the Rattlestick and get some tickets here http://www.Amoralists.com.