August Schulenberg isn’t from Seattle, so I am again breaking my rule of seeing plays by local playwrights. However, “Riding the Bull” is the West Coast premier, so that’s … sort of in line.
I had to see the show, though. I know Jen Anderson and Geb Brown — I’ve worked with both of them before, and I know that they are both very talented individuals. This production didn’t disappoint. The script is difficult — it is emotional and bloody and sexual, the characters struggle with themselves and each other. It is hard to watch, and hard to listen to, but in such a wonderful and rewarding way. Stone Soup’s upstage space is teeny tiny, but that does the script so much justice. I don’t think this show could be performed in a space that had more than 50 seats. And, as a memory play, the stark aspect of the small setting (just two chairs, a coat rack for costume changes and hampers to hold discarded clothes) absolutely serves the play and draws attention to the actors and the lines.
Beautiful. The sex scenes, the brutality, the little kindnesses were all handled simply, focus drawn to the words without pantomime, which again serves the script beautifully.
Kudos to New Amerikan Theatre for an amazing show. And also, kudos to the 12-person bridal party that chose the show last night as part of their bachelorette party!