“Our goal at Small Ax [Theatre] is to deliver a show that audiences will love, be inclusive as we can in bringing compelling stories to theatre lovers, and introduce newcomers to the magic that is live theatre,” said Director T.J. Curran.
Small Ax introduced hundreds of people to their talents and the glory of Shakespeare with a production of “Othello” at India Point Park last summer.
Now they are offering something as far away from the Bard as you can get: Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Little Dog Laughed,” the Tony Award-winning “hip and witty show with gay themes” at the Providence Social Club at 71 Richmond St., around the corner from PPAC.
A most unique location for a play, the club is located on the second level of an old building, up very steep stairs, surrounded by night clubs that attract a younger, “more hip” crowd to DownCity.
If you go to the third level, you can get a tattoo. “Hell” is located on the first level, where the loud band started playing Friday evening before the play ended. Curran said the play really fit into the environment.
While sight-lines were a bit of a challenge, sitting in comfortable sofas was a treat for the two-hour production. The show and set have to be out by 10 p.m. when the rock bands start playing.
Beane’s play is about deciding what you really want in life. There are strong messages about sexual identity and decision-making, making it a big R, all wrapped up in a story that is definitely for mature audiences. It is very frank with its language, nudity and sex.
While the subject matter may be too much for some people, it is well written, with interesting characters, and positive messages for the younger crowd who wouldn’t usually go to the theatre.
Adam Vargulish plays Mitchell, a promising actor vying for a major role in a new movie. He is controlled by Diane (Joanne Fayan), a fast-talking, strong manager who wants him to hide his homosexuality. Mitchell takes up with Alex (Kevin Broccoli), a male prostitute, and the two men slowly and awkwardly bond.
Alex’s girlfriend, or girl friend (Heidi Beckamann), becomes involved when she reveals her pregnancy, and the three characters are faced with a major decision, influenced strongly by Diane.
The play moves a bit too slowly in the first act, but picks up in the second as everything comes together for a surprising conclusion.
Curran says that we will be hearing much more about Small Ax Theatre around the first of the year, as they search for play suggestions and locations.
“The Little Dog Laughed” continues at the Providence Social Club Nov. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students –college students that is. There is a bar in the theatre). Not handicapped accessible. Mature audiences only. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.