In typical New York fashion for a maturely themed production, David Rhodes’ new play “Consent,” opened Thursday, June 11 in the intimately spaced basement Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Despite the nevertheless relevant title, what Rhodes is really exploring are the nuances of coming out later in life and all it entails. The four- person cast includes Ron (Mark McCullough Thomas), an ex-NFL player turned architect, Kurt (Michael Goldstein), a handsome law student, Ron’s soon-to-be ex-wife Susie (Angela Pierce), and Ron’s hilarious and uncompromisingly unapologetic sister, Emily (Catherine Curtin). Newly out Ron picks up Kurt on a subway platform and takes him home to his new SoHo loft, ready to experience sexual freedom after decades of being a straight, married father. Unfortunately, Ron is woefully unprepared for everything Kurt asks for, and Kurt eventually gets tired of asking in a particularly gruesome and graphic scene. A wounded and confused Ron spirals into depression that only Emily’s straight forward tongue lashings— “So you’re gay. Maybe a little kinky. Big f*cking deal.”can cure, while Susie stands on the side, unable to comprehend her superfluity in his life as Ron pulls away from her and their children. Themes of shame and an unfulfilled desire for freedom hang heavily over the play—most interesting to watch are definitely Emily and the sly and witty Kurt, who oscillates between villain and victim. Even at its darkest, director and writer Rhodes is pushing the envelope—asking questions and demanding answers that society can’t fully satisfy. Sadly, the question of consent isn’t actually addressed after Ron expresses his conflicting feelings. However, there’s more than enough to result in a gritty performance laced with responsibility and regret, implying that we get older, but we never stop growing up.
“Consent” will run from June 11 to June 28. For more information and tickets, please visit www.consenttheplay.com/