"The Bachelors" review- a shocking play where male dinosaurs collide

Cole Theatre is currently presenting Caroline V. McGraw’s “The Bachelors” through April 10 at The Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln, Chicago. Directed by Erica Weiss, and starring Nicholas Bailey, Boyd Harris and Shane Kenyon, this production is difficult to watch.  It isn’t that the play was poorly written, or less than thoughtfully directed, or that the actors weren’t nimble and skillful. The problem is that the subject matter and the manner of expression are just too depressingly offensive to be considered casual entertainment.  The play appears to be about extreme hatred- primarily of men for women, but also of women for men, of women for women, and of men for men! The three characters, long-time roommates, actually appear to loathe themselves and each other, as well.

Nicholas Bailey as "Kevlar", Boyd Harris as "Henry", and Shane Kenyon as "Laurie"

Three men live together long after college in a squalid, littered dive on an obscure fraternity row. Bachelor #1 (Shane Kenyon as "Laurie"), returns home to find his roommate, Bachelor #2, (Nicholas Bailey as "Kevlar") wildly inebriated, the place trashed. Out comes a hideous story about the drunken man’s degrading reaction to the revelation of his girlfriend’s cancer. Bachelor # 3, (Boyd Harris as "Henry") comes home, and in-between pretending to screw the sofa to the strains of “Help Me, Rhonda”, coming from a nearby frathouse and beating up #1, he reveals he has a willing gagged female sex-slave waiting upstairs.

The Bachelors

The thrashing of #1 serves to set loose his pathetic saga. He’s just returned from destroying his career in Las Vegas due to his groping of a pole-twirling stripper paid by his boss and colleagues to perform a private lap-dance; he interprets her come-ons as signs of love. While he comes home with airport-purchased luggage containing nothing but a g-string, with no job, he may well be better off. He certainly has  a clean slate with which to begin to find real love and meaningful work.

Boyd Harris, Nicholas Bailey and Shane Kenyon as The Bachelors

This reviewer was actually fascinated by the excesses of these character’s verbal barrages. But to assume that the surface expression constituted all there was in this production does a disservice to the integrity of the playwright, the actors interpreting the script, and everybody involved in this production. These three men were like mastodons clashing tusks in the last days of the dinosaurs. They are the remnants of a way of life not only seriously out of style, but one that it’s fashionable to despise in this age of knee-jerk political correctness. I believe they were trying hard to listen to each other, to hear each other and to be heard. For shock-jocks like these, this could well have been the most meaningful night of their lives.

The 3 bachelors in "The Bachelors"

For information and tickets to “The Bachelors”, go to www.ColeTheatre.org

Photos courtesy of Boyd Harris and Nathaniel Filbert

 

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