Four Play at Theatre 503
Playwright Jake Brunger speaks of a generation that’s terrified of committing and somewhat encouraged to endlessly look for better options, particularly in terms of partnerships. He looks at those who believe that “the answer is to just randomly sleep around,” and “how to bring an end to that mentality.” Four Play juxtaposes a stable, committed relationship with an open one, but the lines aren’t so clearly defined. It seems that even when a bond is solid, there can be uncertainties loitering, and that no matter how “open” a relationship is, infidelity leaves a trail of insecurities and guilt.
Rafe and Pete are a gay couple who have had no sexual partners other than each other. After seven years together, they begin to wonder if they should have a one-off liaison with someone new to get the nagging curiosity out of their systems and “put temptations to bed”. After a careful consideration of all their options, they conclude that the best bet is to ask an acquaintance to help them, so they proceed to contact Michael. What begins as a game soon transforms into an intricate affair when Michael’s boyfriend, Andrew, becomes aware of the agreement. In spite of the fact that the two are in an open relationship, knowing beyond any doubt what Michael is involved in – and with whom – inevitably causes Andrew pain and puts a strain on the relationship.
The choice is between compromise and separation, and the message is that such dilemmas help distinguish genuine feelings of love from a mere desire for companionship. While its main intent is to invite the audience to consider the state of monogamy in the 21st century, Four Play is above all an entertaining show brought to life by well-drawn characters and lively dialogues. The tempo never subsides and in spite of the little information given about the characters, one begins to foster a real interest in their fates. The setting, a combination of wooden planks and disco lights, is somewhat domestic while also evocative of night clubs, reflecting the characters’ oscillation between one reality and the other. Honest and even poignant at times, the play benefits from the excellent performances of its cast and shines in its tragicomical depiction of modern love.
Photo: Richard Lakos
Four Play is on at Theatre 503 from 16th February until 12th March 2016, for further information or to book visit here.