For better or for worse, digital technology has literally made a whole world of products and services available at the click of a button. Without leaving home, you can order up your favourite takeout meal, watch a cinematic masterpiece – and yes, even find a partner for a quick, no-strings fling.
Currently playing at The Winchester Street Theatre, MSM [Men Seeking Men] is a mixed-media, one-hour production that meshes electronic music, interpretive dance and dialogue derived from real online chats to explore the realm of anonymous gay sex.
Caution: this production is not for the timid.
There’s much to like about this play. Lewd, crude and salacious, MSM [Men Seeking Men] pulls no punches regarding its subject matter.
Everything from quips about online grammar (including the ubiquitous use of ‘LOL’) to foot fetishes and bareback sex is up for critique. And kudos should be awarded to director and choreographer, Indrit Kasapi, for delivering what felt to me like a personal assessment of what he thought of online hookups.
This production neither condemns, nor condones internet flings. But rather, it presents a broad spectrum of what one would find when trolling Craigslist, Grindr or any other online forum for sex.
To this end, MSM [Men Seeking Men] is more like a slice-of-life snapshot than it is a parody or social commentary. There is truth – as well as humour – in what’s being presented on stage.
Visually, this production was a treat for the senses. The lighting and sound production was impeccable (Production Design by Joseph Pagnan; Stage Management by Heather Bellingham; Production Management by Debbie Courchene). And Kasapi’s choreography was crisp and focused. Much of the ‘storytelling’ actually occurred without any dialogue being uttered, but through the highly expressive movements of the performers.
The cast (Cole Alvis, Aldrin Bundoc, Corrado Cerruto, Austin Fagan, Andrew Hartley, Ryan G. Hinds, Louis Laberge-Côté and Nico Racicot) all performed aptly. On a side note, it was very refreshing to see representation for various ethnicities and body shapes.
The one caveat I would have regarding this production would be a warning to those who only enjoy traditional, linear-story theatre. This play can at times be quite abstract, and the dance work sometimes felt a little too repetitive and laboured. So, if you’re looking for a play where all loose ends are tied together nicely, or a play that progresses in easy-to-digest chapters, this isn’t it.
But if you’re looking for a real, and gut-wrenchingly raw look into the world of gay cruising, this is one production you shouldn’t miss.
- MSM [Men Seeking Men] is playing at The Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester Street) until June 29th as part of the 2014 World Pride Theatre Series
- General admission will cost you $20 (plus applicable service fees)
- Tickets are available in person at the box office, via telephone by calling 1-800-838-3006 or online via BrownPaperTickets.com
Photo credit: Alejandro Santiago