If you’ve found yourself in a haze of ennui over L.A.’s theater scene (how many times can you see Hamilton at the Pantages, really?} then perhaps it’s time to take yourself down to Palm Springs’ gay resort, INNdulge, where an immersive performance of Steven Rosenbaum’s Electricity is sure to reinvigorate your thespianic zeal just in time for Greater Palm Springs Pride. Though the play ran for eleven weeks in Los Angeles, with an encore at the Hollywood Fringe Theater Festival, this new Palm Springs milieu is sure to bring heightened drama to an already sexually-charged play.
With the majority of the narrative taking place in a hotel room, the audience acts as the ultimate fly on the wall viewers. As main characters Gary (Terry Ray) and Brad (Mel England) re-explore a spark that flourishes between them after showing up to their ten year reunion in a small town in Ohio, the thrill of voyeurism thrives as onlookers learn of Gary and Brad’s incredible tale. In his stead as both principal actor and playwright, Terry Ray brings a unique perspective to the story, commenting of the play’s resonance with gay men who came of age in the 70s and 80s, “We started from a place where silence equaled death to one where equality might actually be a reality.” In this regard, it makes plenty of sense that Gary would feel so repressed about his sexuality so as to create the lie of having a wife. Brad, on the other extreme of coping mechanisms, numbs his tortured spirit with sex, drugs and alcohol. Their yin and yang nature is, of course, what continues to draw them to one another decade after decade.
Turning their hotel encounter into something of a tradition for three subsequent reunions (Romy and Michele would never,) the electricity between them proves a riveting delight to watch, in addition to its often bittersweet tone. While the opening of the play begins in the lobby of INNdulge, where the audience will have a participatory role as “extras” at the high school reunion, Gary and Brad then go to their hotel room, during which time the audience is to follow. Subsequently, the intimate space makes for a truly enveloping and hypnotic experience.
Performances of Electricity take place October 25-26 and November 9-11 at INNdulge (601 S. Grenfall Road, Palm Springs). 7:30pm reception/8:00pm show. The play is ninety minutes with no intermission, and has an eighteen and over age restriction as, thank God, there will be nudity. $50.00 tickets are available at www.ElectricityThePlay.com.
P.S. If you’re a guest of INNdulge, you’ll get a 50 percent discount on tickets, so you might want to think about indulging in that getaway sooner rather than later.