Fame is the Worst Drug Known to Man: A Review of SOMEONE BROUGHT ME By Daniel Talbott

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Everything about Rich Rubin’s staging of the world premiere of Daniel Talbott’s drama Someone Brought Me is profoundly and utterly sexy, and the three actors in the play, Dexter Anderson, Calvin Atkinson, and Ben Story, serve as the backbone of this absolutely stunning production.  This is the kind of play that Tennessee Williams would be writing if he were alive today, a poetic, almost erotic, futuristic suspense story that is grounded with a sliver of reality.

The production itself looks gorgeous, primarily due the aesthetic nature of Eric Baker’s lighting and John Hodges’s costumes.  This is a post-apocalyptic world, best described by one of the characters as “a cruel, uncompromising cunt,” but Mr. Talbott’s script constantly goes back to the ounce of what is real and honest: the relationship between the three characters.

Of note, Mr. Atkinson’s performance is utterly remarkable.  His character, an unnamed “Man 1,” seems to be the only one of the trio who has successfully made it through the so-called “end of the world” successfully.  Mr. Atkinson’s character, a photographer of Eastern European dissent, has mastered the balancing act required in order to survive in this new landscape.  Mr. Atkinson’s performance is clearly calculated: he’s cold, yes, but, through his anguished monologues, we see that his horrid past has shaped him accordingly.  As he recalls his childhood, Man 1 says, ‘If you didn’t like someone, you shot them in the head.”  Alas, this mentality seems to have permeated through his soul.

The vast majority of the action takes place between Mr. Atkinson’s character and his former lover, the unnamed “Man 2,” played by Mr. Story, who has not made it through the apocalypse successfully.  The scenes between both men are, quite literally, explosive: the sexual tension alone could easily implode the stage.  Mr. Story does a remarkable job with the ambiguity of his character: it is not totally clear whether or not “Man 2” genuinely loves his former partner, or if he is using him to get out of the literal hell he’s been sentenced in this post-apocalypse.

Mr. Anderson’s role, a young man named David, who has, essentially, resorted to turning tricks in order to survive (he is photographed nude at the start of the play by Man 1), is the most minor of the three characters; nevertheless, he’s probably the most heart-breaking of the three men.  Mr. Anderson does a wonderful job creating a sense of ethos for this small role, and his performance is, along with his colleagues, moving and passionate.

Do not fear the 9:30PM start time of this production; it is a one-act drama that runs under an hour. Someone Brought Me is the type of work that reminds us why we go to the theater: to be moved, to be transported, to be reminded that, no matter how unrealistic the world on the stage may be, there is a part of us that relates to the story.  Mr. Talbott’s play is a synthesis of this passion.

Someone Brought Me runs at Second Stage at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, through August 24, 2013.  For more information, visit www.quinceproductions.com, or call 215-627-1088.

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