Theater archives

Square Suburbanites Get It On in Thomas Bradshaw’s Intimacy


What’s fun about playwright Thomas Bradshaw is the blunt way he satirizes our moral hypocrisies.

Intimacy, his new comedy of eros, takes on sexual hangups in an affluent suburb. To give just one example from a tangled web: A father (Keith Randolph Smith) happily immerses himself in Barely Legal magazines but hits the roof when his adult daughter (Ella Dershowitz) decides to make professional porn.

Bradshaw spends the first act exposing those kinds of repressed desires and twisted rationales; in the second half, all the neighbors drop their prejudices and, um, come together while shooting an adult film (complete with incest and other taboos).

Real intimacy, the play seems to say, happens when private desires can be seen and acknowledged by others.

As usual, Bradshaw operates on a more-is-better writing model. He can’t resist confronting us with attitudes toward race, class, and bodily functions, too, so the play swells, sometimes becoming a tacit lecture in more provocative clothing.

When the playwright takes a lighter approach, however, the dialogue can be very funny — as when budding young filmmaker Matthew (Austin Cauldwell) talks about his pretensions to art. Scott Elliott directs this sharp production for the New Group, but the script needs to be more selective in its outrageousness.