The characters are mostly twentysomethings trying to figure it all out. Mark (Scotty Gannon) is a drug addict living with two other roommates: Robbie (Ian Gaenssley), who is his current lover, and Lulu (Jillian Fratkin), who once was Robbie’s lover. When Mark decides to go to rehab, the others are left on their own, trying to make ends meet and not doing a good job. At one time they try running phone sex lines to get money.
‘Shopping and F***ing’ Aug. 13 – Sept. 4 Onstage Atlanta 2597 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033 404-897-1802 www.onstageatlanta.com
According to director DeWayne Morgan, who also serves as the company’s artistic director, the bond is close between the three. Morgan feels that Mark is the caretaker of the group. At the beginning of the show, Mark tells a story about how he “bought” his two roommates from a colleague. Morgan says it’s never quite clear if he is telling the truth or not, but the others clearly have a hard time without him.
“Shopping and F***ing” was met with decidedly mixed reviews and some scandal upon its debut. Besides adult themes and sexuality and nudity, there is some violence and one eye-opening scene involving a 14-year-old hustler, Gary (Caleb Lawton), who Mark becomes involves with.
Morgan calls the play undeniably racy.
“I’ve know about it for a few years, but I have never read a play like it,” he says. “There is a lot of sex and a lot of naughtiness. This is the most risqué of Mark Ravenhill’s work, his most out-there play.”
At first Morgan was a little concerned that audiences might not be ready for the content, but he now feels they are, saying it is dark but funny.
“I like it because it is black and meaty, but it does have comedy,” he says. “It can gross you out but make you laugh.”
One of the attractions for him was the characters, who he feels are especially vivid.
“I love all the characters in this show, and I knew it would be fun for the actors to do this,” he says. “The people in the play do what they have to do for money.”
]Gay actor Scotty Gannon plays Mark, a character who he feels wants to help his friends but isn’t quite able.
“He is trying to take some of what he has learned and put it in action,” he says. “He comes home and tries to control every situation, but he hasn’t learned what he needs to know. He hasn’t gotten through the basic work.”
Mark enters into a sexual relationship with a teenage hustler and struggles to keep his emotions out of the equation.
“He pays for sex with this kid and gets involved but tries to not make it a personal relationship,” he says.
Gannon admits that the show is for adults but that the content is not there just for shock value.
“The racy parts are done with a purpose,” he says. “They are tied into the fabric of the story. It means something. It’s not gratuitous.”
“Shopping and F***ing” is the first show of the new 2010-2011 season for Process Theatre. Morgan will announce the rest of his season soon.
Top photo: Robbie (left, Ian Gaenssly) and Mark (Scotty Ganno) are lovers in gay playwright Mark Ravenhill’s ‘Shopping and F***ing.’ (by Dewayne Morgan)