I’d seen Thomas Bradshaw’s last play, Burning, a couple of years ago so I knew what I was getting myself into when I “signed up” to see Intimacy, his latest work produced by The New Group.
There is a lot of nudity, masturbation, and fake semen in this one. It’s about three families in some small American town whose lives are kind of turned upside-down when one of the widower-devout Christian father’s discovers one of the girls next door is a porn star. Values are examined, the porn star’s father has to come to terms with his daughter’s career choice (as the mother seems incredibly supportive), and the climax (no pun intended) is all three families acting in a porno together filmed directed by the devout Christian’s son, Matthew (I’m pretty sure that was his name).
This is the intimacy that that the title refers to. It’s a little weird. Okay, very weird. And incredibly unbelievable, but hey, maybe it’s not so much as we hear more and more nowadays about mothers and daughters doing porn together and the like. The writing in Intimacy was never Pulitzer Prize worthy but when the plot atrophies, so does the writing.
Bradshaw likes to see how far he can push his audiences. Well, he pushed them quite far and a lot of them didn’t come back. But I think that’s part of the fun of a Bradshaw play: observing the audience’s reaction.