Sunday, November 15, 2009

WLS Review: "Loaded"

Can sensational sexual chemistry translate into deeper emotional intimacy? Can gay men from two different generations find common ground? Does a meeting of bodily fluids guarantee enmeshment of the minds? Daytime television this is not. But these are just a few of the questions raised by the powerful and provocative new drama, “Loaded,” written by Elliot Ramon Potts, and starring Kevin Spirtas and Scott Kerns.

Patrick and Jude, ages 47 and 24, found each other on an internet dating site, and have been getting together for several weeks ever since. The show begins on the night Patrick has agreed to allow Jude stay over in his apartment. As the lights go up we are witness to what appears to be an ecstatic post-sex afterglow. What happens after that is a voyeuristic rollercoaster ride into the complex and intense world of gay male relationships.

We see our two protagonists separated on such “loaded” topics such as gay history, misogyny, AIDS, activism, classism, gay marriage, children, and the pros/cons of assimilation. Although their bodies connect, their experiences do not, and the generational and cultural gap between them expands wider and wider as the play progresses. Yet nothing is as simple or obvious as it appears. Just when you think you know where the script is going, you are surprised as it veers off in a very different direction.

Kevin Spirtas summons up his familiar out-for-number-one posturing that made him so irresistible yet reprehensible as Craig on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and Jonas on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. However, “Loaded” allows Spirtas to reveal more than ever before, both physically and spiritually. We might be shocked and outraged by some of Patrick’s actions, yet Spirtas never for a minute lets us forget the tortured and damaged soul behind the pomp and swagger. Newcomer Scott Kerns as Jude proves a perfect foil for Patrick, matching him “tit-for-tat” in arrogance, anger, vulnerability, and fear.

There is a poignant moment in the play when the novel “Catch-22” falls onto the floor. It is a perfect allegory for each man’s struggle, for neither can win this argument, and neither can walk away. Anyone who has ever felt so close to someone, yet so far apart; so hopeful, yet so afraid; so connected, yet so distant, will enjoy the themes of “Loaded.”

S.A.S.S. [Short Attention Soap Summary]

WHAT: “Loaded” starring Kevin Spirtas and Scott Kerns at The Lion Theater [410 West 42nd St], from November 15, 2009 - January 23, 2010.

WHY SOAP FANS WILL LOVE IT: The themes of two people in a relationship coming together and then breaking apart, back and forth, is an integral part of soap watching! Except the villains in “Loaded” aren’t mobsters or evil twins, they are simply the psychological demons of two men striving to connect.

BOTTOM LINE: If you enjoy “Nuke” on ATWT, “Fish” on OLTL, or even “Radam,” from Y&R this past summer, then you will appreciate the deeper and more realistic portrayal of gay male conflicts presented here.

VERDICT: Don’t let “Loaded” blow past you! Click here for tickets!

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