If you hang around with me long enough, you’ll notice a few lines I tend to repeat regarding my opinions on theater, including how it helps with reading comprehension and how it’s beautiful in its simplicity. In other words, all you need is a room and an audience. Epic Theatre Company has certainly taken this to new heights with their latest offering, a site-specific production of Jordan Seavey’s Homos, or Everyone in America, directed sublimely by David Ledoux. So what exactly is site-specific theater? It’s theater that is performed elsewhere than a traditional theater. Epic has made wonderful use of the newly decorated lobby at the Artists’ Exchange as their set. As an audience member you never actually enter the black box theater, instead the show is all around you from the moment you walk in the door. Watching this play you really feel as if you’re in New York City. All around the audience is an apartment, a LUSH store, a wine bar, even a hospital and the subway, with lighting and sound showcasing each location. With lighting beautifully designed by Alex Sprague, Epic was able to do something quite difficult, and make it look almost easy. This was done hand in hand with Terry Shea’s robust sound design to offer clues to the audience as to when the timeline was switching.
The play follows the relationship of two men, the Writer and the Academic. We witness their first date, their first kiss, their first fight and all the ups and downs of a relationship not in the traditional chronological order, but woven together in bits and pieces. I don’t want to say more than that because the joy of seeing a piece of contemporary theater like this is the joy of not knowing where it’s going.
It’s imperative that a cast of this size be composed of stellar performers, and as usual Epic doesn’t disappoint. Taking on the role of the Writer with a flawless portrayal is Epic’s own Kevin Broccoli, and watching Broccoli play a writer is every bit as enjoyable as watching one of his plays. His performance ran the gamut of emotions as the play covers many years. Playing opposite Broccoli was Alvaro Beltran, who delivered an incredible performance as the Academic, the Writer’s boyfriend. Michael Petrarca plays the role of Dan with ease, and Angelique Dina’s Laila added the perfect dose of warmth.
Homos, or Everyone in America is a play not to be missed this summer. From the acting to the technical aspects to Seavey’s banter, this is a fabulous night of theater.
Homos, or Everyone in America runs Fridays and Saturdays until August 25 at 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston.