|Jason Rosario and Nikki Muller|
Definition of Man: A Duet in One Act embraces many of the messy and seemingly disparate fabrics essential to our beings. Creators and stars Nikki Muller and Jason Rosario, under the direction of JJ Mayes, have tackled a very tall order of issues—love, sex, relationships, families of origin, class, race, misogyny, feminism and mortality. Through words, mostly spoken and sometimes sung, a multitude of languages, and a physicality of shear gymnastic proportion, they have stitched together a beautiful love story which, in less intuitive and talented hands, could have been frenzied and even slapstick, but instead is thoughtful, logical and elegant.
The play, in one act, takes us through an arc comprising the two characters’ early lives and love affair. It seems they are now the last pair on earth, which has caused considerable consternation because, besides being isolated and filthy, what now?
Definition of Man is palpably intimate, from its baring of souls, fears and bold truths, to its stunning choreography, which often places the two in push-pull, stay-go, love-hate, tug-of-wars. This is all-in storytelling with the actors using every fiber of themselves to invite us into their predicament. Despite the obvious post-apocalyptic setting, this is in many ways a classic tale, a dialogue that could have been set in ancient Greece, Jane Austen’s Regency England, the Vietnam era, or even today. But the dystopian backdrop helps sew urgency and poignancy through this tale, while we reflect on age-old conflicts between lovers and within ourselves.
Definition of Man is featured at the Sacred Fools Black Box as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It has been extended for another weekend. Tickets at www.definitionofman.com