2 Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter's Night | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

2 Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter's Night 

2 Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter's Night, Bailiwick Repertory. Well, it seems to be cold--the sex partners pretend to cuddle under the covers--but these strangers in the night soon forget they're freezing and spend most of their 70 minutes onstage frolicsomely nude: standard fare for the gay-themed Bailiwick Pride Performance Series.

Another postsex confessional drama like Together Alone, James Edwin Parker's 2 Boys is full of recycled pillow talk. In fact last year at Bailiwick, Paul Harris's To Have and to Hold also depicted two New Yorkers in their 30s balancing the fear of dependence against the need for commitment. One was a banker, the other an accountant--but these are just blanks you fill in.

David Zak efficiently stages the 1996 version. It exposes Darrell (Gary Albert), a supposedly pretty preppie who's delicately insecure, afraid of being abandoned and as needy as a refugee. In calculated contrast is Peter (Darren Stephens), a horny, muscular construction worker with Guinness-breaking self-esteem who teaches Darrell that "strength is sexier than weakness." As they display their bodies they discuss careers or the lack thereof, drugs and disco, dildos, the appropriateness of the term "faggot," AIDS, loneliness, New York neuroses, promiscuity, first sex, the five levels of affection, and fantasy versus intimacy. Endearingly erotic, Albert and Stephens play the teasing and the big/small talk spontaneously, even when naked. For gay audiences Parker's slice of sex life amounts to deja vu stew, but slumming straights may find it sporadically exotic. --Lawrence Bommer

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