I’ve mostly cycled out of writing theater reviews, in an effort to concentrate my writing energy in the direction of my therapy practice. But I couldn’t resist writing about Thomas Bradshaw’s latest play, Intimacy, because of the issues it raises, particularly about how pornography has become an integral part of our lives in a way that hardly anyone talks about. Directed by Scott Elliott for the New Group, the show is finishing up its run — the last performance is Saturday night. It’s really worth seeing and discussing.
Here’s my first paragraph: Thomas Bradshaw is a 33-year-old black American playwright who might as well have his middle name legally changed to Provocative, because no one seems to be able to talk or write about his work without conjuring that adjective. The most recent of his 11 plays, “Intimacy,” has been playing Off Broadway for the last two months; the production at the New Group concludes its run March 8. I’m fascinated by this play not just as a theater scholar but also as a sex therapist. Bradshaw’s plays almost always address hot-button issues of race, class, and sexuality very directly and explicitly. His previous play, “Burning,” performed at the New Group two years ago, took off from the Marquis de Sade’s “Philosophy in the Bedroom” and included several extremely graphic scenes of simulated sex by naked actors only a few feet away from the audience. “Intimacy” goes even further by taking as its main subject the prevalence of pornography in American culture, specifically as it plays out among three suburban families.
You can read the entire review for CultureVulture online here. Check it out and let me know what you think.