A charming black box production, the Sanguine Theatre Company's “Wild” centers on a yuppie gay couple struggling with infidelity. For one hundred minutes, scenes transpire in a glorified sandbox, representing a strip of beach in Chicago just steps away from the lead couple's apartment.
Written by Crystal Skillman and directed by Evan F. Caccioppoli, “Wild” is an accurate portrayal of the postmodern relationship in which monogamy is difficult to maintain and consensual non-monogamy presents itself as a pragmatic alternative. The adulterers and their partners in crime are all intelligent and well-intended, yet they make questionable decisions when confronted with inner conflict, high blood alcohol levels, and a sensual beach setting. In a tense moment after Bobby and Peter come clean to each other, Bobby says to Peter, “I'll fuck whoever I want, and you'll fuck whoever you want. That's love, right?”
“Wild” is relatable to those exploring an ever-evolving dating landscape, but it isn't captivating. The show opens on conflict with minimal exposition; viewers are poorly prepared for lengthy dramatic scenes that ensue. Bobby and Peter become defined by conflict rather than personal traits, making empathy a stretch.
Supporting characters are much easier to care about, thanks to a combination of better writing and acting. Lyonel Reneau is enchanting as Vin, a wise and strapping beach yogi. Diane Stahl is exemplary as Nikki, a comical, emotional, and forthright dancer. David Armanino is palpably anxious as Jordy, a young and naïve bisexual finance intern.
“Wild” slowly hammers in the message that a romantic partnership is held together by more than exclusivity. This important takeaway would be better delivered by more compelling and developed lead characters.
At IRT through April 6.