Dark, Erotic BAREBACK INK Set for IRT Theater This Spring

Dark, Erotic BAREBACK INK Set for IRT Theater This Spring

IRT presents Hard Sparks' BAREBACK INK by Bob Bartlett, directed by David Drake, March 4-18 at IRT Theater (154 Christopher Street) as part of the 3B Development Series*.

The cast will feature J.Stephen Brantley (Mope at Ensemble Studio Theater; Murder in the First at 59E59), Todd Flaherty (Sleep No More with Punchdrunk; Pirira with Theatre 167), with Sound and Lighting Designer Jon Salutz, Costumer Audrey Nauman and Stage Manager Leah Montesinos.

Tickets ($25) may be purchased in advance at www.irttheater.org. Performances are March 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 15, 17 at 7pm, and March 12, 18 at 3pm.

A raging narcissist, drunk on authority, pulls the supernatural strings in Bob Bartlett's unapologetically queer neo-noir about desire, possession, and the perversion of power. Directed by Obie-winner David Drake and produced by Hard Sparks (The Jamb, R & J & Z, Eightythree Down), the play casts a raw, voyeuristic gaze at the intergenerational homoerotics of Greek myth through a decidedly contemporary and surprisingly sociopolitical lens.

Commanded by a mysterious patron, a beautiful young man (Todd Flaherty) enters a purgatory-like tattoo shop where an isolated and withdrawn artist (J.Stephen Brantley) forcibly inksthe boy's back over the course of several months. Both are prisoners, one stolen as a child and ascended to the heavens, the other cast out and fallen to earth. In this erotic tale of the struggle between comfortable corruption and the cost of true freedom, Bartlett's modern-day Ganymede - rejected by family, community, and culture - subverts our oldest gay myth by fighting fate and choosing freedom.

'The Rape and Abduction of Ganymede' - in all its celebrated and problematic forms - has been the subject of artists and writers since Greek antiquity. The story of a beautiful boy snatched from safety and made Zeus' wine-bearer remains emblematic of the treatment of generations of men and boys at the hands of powerful and sometimes corrupt systems. Hard Sparks' production is markedly contemporary, set in a sultry subterranean realm reminiscent of Genet's Querelle and the work of Tom Of Finland.

Bob Bartlett (Playwright) is a DC-based dramatist whose plays include The Orbit of Mercury, Swimming with Whales, happiness (and other reasons to die), The Accident Bear, Falwell, Kuchu Uganda, Greetings from Youngstown and Kansas. His work has been commissioned, produced, and developed at Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Lark New Play Development Center, Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival, Theater Alliance, Source Festival, First Draft, Active Cultures, Rorschach Theatre, The Theatre Lab, Iron Crow Theatre Company, The DC Queer Theatre Festival, the Edinburgh, Capital, and Annapolis Fringe Festivals, Bowie State University, and The Welders.

David Drake (Director) is an Obie Award winner for his long-running solo show The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me. He recently helmed J.Stephen Brantley's The Jamb, as well as his acclaimed musical memoir Chicken-Fried Ciccone for the 2014 FRIGID Festival (which received two NYIT Award nominations). David has twice been a directing fellow at Sundance Theater Lab, as well as residencies at DTW and the Kimmel Center. He developed and directed The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac (New York Times, TONY, New Yorker Critic's picks) which played Under the Radar at The Public before an extensive global tour, as well as the world premiere of Mac's Obie Award-winning epic The Lily's Revenge at HERE. David has been the writer and director of Migguel Anggelo's Another Son of Venezuela (NY Magazine Critic's Pick) at Joes's Pub and on international tour.

J.Stephen Brantley Off-Broadway: Mope (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Murder In The First (The Directors Co. at 59E59, and Theatre 167's Pirira (West End Theater). Regional: The Night Alive (Guild Hall), Of Mice And Men (Bay Street), Slap & Tickle (Provincetown Theater), and Romeo And Juliet with its zombie sequel R & J & Z at Stonington Opera House. Brantley has also worked with Big Dance, Blessed Unrest, CapsLock, and Jewish Plays Project, and at venues including Queens Theatre, LaMaMa, Metropolitan Playhouse, The New Ohio, and P.S.122. Brantley is an eight-time New York Innovative Theatre Award nominee, and winner of the Micheál MacLiammóir Award for Best Actor at the 2013 Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival. He is the Producing Artistic Director of Hard Sparks and a member of the Indie Theatre Hall Of Fame. Visit www.jstephenbrantley.com.

Todd Flaherty Off-Broadway: Pirira (NYIT Nom) also by J.Stephen Brantley, Fresh Kills (59E59). Other New York credits include: Sleep No More (Punchdrunk/ Emursive), Dead Letter Office, I Like To Be Here (Theater167), We Are Nebenienander (American Laboratory) and Hard Sparks' The Jamb. Regional: Slap & Tickle, also directed by David Drake. Film/New Media: Pretty Girls, 'The Fuzz', 'Tracy&Cal'. Todd wrote, produced, co-directed and appears in 'Undetectable', recently nominated for seven Indie Series Awards. Go to www.toddflaherty.com.

HARD SPARKS champions daring performances of adventurous new plays. Since 2011, the company has worked with fifty-one actors, nine playwrights, six directors, and eighteen designers on eleven productions in thirteen venues. Hard Sparks has been nominated for eleven New York Innovative Theatre Awards including Outstanding Premiere Production for Eightythree Down, Outstanding Short Script for Chicken-Fried Ciccone, and Outstanding Revival for R & J & Z. For more information, visit www.HardSparks.com.

IRT THEATER is a grassroots laboratory for independent theater and performance in New York City, providing space and support to a new generation of artists. Tucked away in the old Archive Building in Greenwich Village, IRT's mission is to build a community of emerging and established artists by creating a home for the development and presentation of new work. Some of the artists we have supported include Young Jean Lee, Reggie Watts, and Mike Daisey. For information visit www.irttheater.org.

*This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Office of Councilmember Corey Johnson and The Nancy Quinn Fund, a project of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York(A.R.T./New York)

Photo Credit: Jody Christopherson

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